FB1BFN-Fundamental Biochemistry in Food and Nutrition

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Anisha Wijeyesekera

Email: a.wijeyesekera@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module serves as introduction to biochemistry for nutrition and food science students. The module will provide a sound understanding of how human biochemistry underpins medical sciences, including nutrition and food science, and how nutrients and non-nutrients impact on a cellular level. An introduction to the fundamentals of (human) biochemistry (including biomolecules, metabolic pathways, enzymology and molecular biology) will be covered, detailing the processes relevant to human health and disease and how this can be affected by diet. Specific examples of how nutrients impact on these systems will form the fundamental basis of all nutrition and food-science related topics in Parts 2 and 3.


In this module, students will learn:

• Fundamentals concepts in human and food biochemistry, including biomolecular structures, metabolic pathways, enzymology and molecular biology.

Rationale: Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sound understanding of these processes is crucial to understand all other physiological mechanisms, and structural biochemistry is important to understand the function and behaviour of major food components.

• Nutritional requirements for growth and maintenance, and within the context of each biochemical system within the body, including that of the brain, circulatory system, bone, heart, liver etc.

Rationale: Fundamentally, macro-and micro-nutrients impact on the growth and maintenance of the human body from birth through to old age. An understanding of such actions is critical as a foundation to topics dealing with malnutrition and over-nutrition. Furthermore, the impact of specific nutrients on the functioning of each biochemical system at the cell or organ level is necessary prior to an understanding of how over or under supply of such nutrients effect influences health and disease (Parts 2 and 3).

• Fundamental research and transferable skills: including laboratory skills, scientific report writing, oral presentations and group work will also be covered as part of this module.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, students will have gained an understanding of the fundamentals of human and food biochemistry, physiology and nutrition. Students will be able to describe the function of the specialist organs in the body and have some understanding of the importance of nutrition to these systems. They will also be familiar with the structure of biomolecules, metabolic pathways, concepts of enzymology and molecular biology, and common analytical techniques used in Biochemistry. Furthermore, students should be able to demonstrate the acquisition of essential research and transferable skills, including basic laboratory tasks relevant to food science, nutrition and physiology, writing scientifically, presenting work orally, as well as working well in a team/group setting.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

This module provides the fundamental background to understanding biochemistry in a nutrition and food science context. The following topics will be covered: structural biochemistry (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates), metabolic pathways, enzymology, molecular biology and analytical techniques used in biochemistry.

Global context:

Nutrition is an applied health science, as such, an understanding of how the body works and the influence and importance of nutrients maintaining this system is essential to the nutrition scientist. Food science is underpinned by a knowledge of the biochemistry of major components.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be delivered using a mixture of teaching and learning techniques, in particular lectures, tutorials and practical laboratory classes.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 8
Tutorials 10 8
Practicals classes and workshops 12 5
Guided independent study 68 79
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Written assignment including essay 30
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Written examination at the end of each term (2 exams - 20% each)

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Written assignment (Laboratory Report) – 30%

Oral Assessment and Presentation (Group Presentation) – 30%

Formative assessment methods:

In-class and online tests and quizzes

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:


    Reassessment arrangements:

    Reassessment arrangements are in accordance with University policy. Reassessment of the written examination is held during the University administered re-examination period in August. Failed coursework may be re-assessed by an alternative assignment before or during the August re-examination period.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 12 December 2018


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