FBMC20-Food Chemistry: Structure, Flavour and Colour

Module Provider: Food and Nutritional Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Richard Frazier

Email: r.a.frazier@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module underpins the study of Food Science and Technology at postgraduate level. It encompasses the role and impact of the chemical properties of food components on food structure and function, including primarily the generation and maintenance of structure/texture, flavour and colour.  The module is approached in the context of food product quality originating from the conversion and processing of important global food commodities.  The practical application of food analysis methodologies to the characterisation of composition and properties of foods is included.


This module aims to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and insights to describe and discuss the role of chemical composition of foods in determining quality attributes.  The module is primarily focused on food chemistry underpinning structure/texture, flavour and colour, but also aims to consider shelf-life and chemical changes that occur during storage. It includes the chemical analysis of foods and interpretation of results from food analysis to assess the quality of the food.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, students should be able to undertake descriptive analysis, synthesis and evaluative discussion of the following key aspects of food chemistry:

• the structural and functional properties of major food components (proteins, lipids and carbohydrates) and food additives, in the context of relevant food commodities;

• the impacts of food processing and storage on food components, and the consequences for food quality; 

• the principal pathways for the generation of flavour and colour in foods and their influence on food quality;

• the application of appropriate analytical methodologies for the identification and quantitation of food composition and properties, including consideration of their limitations.


On completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate the following skills:

• design and completion of experiments for the chemical analysis of food;

• interpretation and presentation of data to produce accurate and critical reports that support cogent conclusions.

Additional outcomes:

Students will develop laboratory, team working and numeracy skills.

Outline content:

The module is structured around the following themes:

  1. Structure and properties of major components in the context of food commodities:

    1. Proteins and lipids in dairy, wheat and meat systems

    2. Lipids in edible oils and fats

    3. Carbohydrates in plant-based foods

  2. The role of selected food additives in maintaining safety and shelf-life, enhancing taste and stabilising structures

  3. Flavour, colour and texture:

    1. Chemical properties of key compounds responsible for flavour, aroma and taste

    2. Development of flavour and colour in foods through the Maillard reaction, lipid degradation and enzymatic pathways

    3. Interaction of flavour compounds with the food matrix

  4. Laboratory analytical techniques for the characterisation of food composition and properties

Global context:

The module is centred on the influence of chemical composition on the quality of major, global food commodities.  This includes consideration in the context of the food system as a whole and the security of food supply chains.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 40
Tutorials 5
Practicals classes and workshops 12
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 30
    Wider reading (directed) 10
    Advance preparation for classes 40
    Preparation for tutorials 8
    Preparation of practical report 15
    Essay preparation 20
    Reflection 20
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Report 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The module will be assessed by two coursework assignments: 1) a written assignment to identify the functionality of ingredients and additives in a specific food product (50%); 2) a report originating from the laboratory analysis of food properties (50%).

Formative assessment methods:

Formative assessment will be conducted through in-class quizzes.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:

50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:

Submission of coursework

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 13 May 2019


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