Food Chemistry


The main goal of this curricular unit is to provide the future nutritionist with knowledge of food chemistry, in the identification and characterization of chemicals substances that constitutes food and to develop laboratory skills to what concerns identification of this substances.
At the end of the curricular unit, the student must be able to:
• Identify chemical functions and isomers;
• Recognize structures of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates;
• Describe the chemical changes during food processing of main nutrients;
• Recognize the importance of food chemical changes from a biological and nutritional point of view;
• Understand and perform identification methods of main food components;
• Discuss strategies to prevent food degradation;
• Identify vitamins, recognize its biological importance and its chemical susceptibility;
• Categorize and identify natural and artificial pigments, food aditives and contaminants;
• Acquire basic competences in laboratory work;
• Discuss experimental results;
• Plan and write an experimental report;
• Give and receive scientific feedback and critical reviews about performed work.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof.ª Doutora Ana Faria


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



Not applicable


• Coultate T, Food : The Chemistry of its Components : Edition 6th, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, 2016
• Belitz, H.-D., Grosch, Werner, Schieberle, Peter, Food Chemistry. 4th edition. Springer-Verlag, NewYork, 2009
• David L. Nelson & Michael M. Cox. Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry. 5th Edition. 2009.
• Vollhardt K., Schore N., Organic Chemistry – Structure and Function, 7th Edition, 2014.

Teaching method

The UC includes theoretical exposure in large group (2 hours /week) that given the exceptional situation determined by the need to adapt the pedagogical response to the contingency plans, given the pandemic crisis of COVID-19, they will be taught remotely, ensuring the security measures imposed by the contingency plan of the FCM / NMS. The theoretical content will be delivered to the student in digital format as well as indication of scientific literature considered relevant.
Practical classes will assume, from the beginning the presential format. A distance learning modality will be applied depending on the epidemiological situation. The practical classes (1 class 2.5 h/ week) will be held individually or in small groups. The protocols will be delivered to the students. Each student will prepare short reports on each experimental work, either performed or visualized. If it is not possible to ensure the practical classroom sessions, these will be provided to students through distance learning.

Evaluation method

The evaluation will be distributed with final examination (A1). The practical component (A2), (continuous assessment and evaluation of the reports) will have a 25% weight of the final grade. The student must attend at least 2/3 of the practical classes and deliver 2/3 of the reports and have a rating of at least 10 points (0-20) in the final grade.
Final grade=(A1x0,75)+(A2x0,25)

Subject matter

Chemical functions; isomers; chemical reactions and kinetics;
Carbohydrates: structure and function; reactions with monosaccharides;
Proteins: aa constitution and structure; reactions during food processing;
Lipids: characterization, chemical properties and reactions;
Antioxidants and prooxidants;
Natural and artificial pigments;
Additives and chemical contaminants.

 Practical component:
Distinction of biologic compounds based on its functional groups;
Characterization of carbohydrates; iodine coloration, reducing power. Starch hydrolysis;
Carbohydrate analysis in breakfast cereals;
Lipid solubility. Emulsion stabilisation. Unsaturated fatty acids and hydroperoxide identification;
Identification of amino acids and proteins. Protein precipitation;
Quantification of soluble proteins from milk;
Determination of ascorbic acid in juices;
Quantification of total phenols from olive oil.


Programs where the course is taught: