FDSC20010 Food Macronutrients

Academic Year 2022/2023

After a brief review of key concepts in chemistry, with a view to highlight the importance of water in all biochemical processes, this module is intended to equip students with an introduction to the key biologically important food macronutrients, namely, carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. The main aim of the module is to focus on the occurrence, chemical structures, physical and chemical properties of important members of each group in order to illustrate why cell structure and metabolism in plants and animals is dependent on these substances.
This module underpins Agricultural Biochemistry (FDSC20100) which deals with the nature of the metabolic processes taking place in living cells.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Describe the chemical and physical properties of key members of the three main classes of macronutrients. Illustrate how the distinctive properties of each class of biomolecule contribute unique features to structure and function in plant and animal systems. Demonstrate a practical ability to show that simple methods of chemical analysis can be used to distinguish between the different classes of macronutrients and to characterize individual members within a class.

Indicative Module Content:

 What holds things together?(Chemical bonds, Ionic bonds, Covalent bonds)
 How are things held together? (Electronegativity, Type of bond formed, Bond polarity, Molecule polarity, Shape of simple molecules)
 In what state? (Van der Waals forces, Dipole-dipole interactions, Induced dipoles and dispersion forces, Hydrogen forces, Implications for solubility)
 pH and ionisation of molecules

 Monosaccharides (Trioses, D-L Classification, Optical activity, Epimers, Hexoses, Mutarotation, Cyclic representation, Properties and reactions, Reduction, Osazones, Glycosides, Sugar alcohols, Sugar acids)
 Oligosaccharides – Disaccharides (Formation / general formula, Properties, Maltose, Cellobiose, Lactose, Sucrose)
 Polysaccharides (General properties, Starch, Occurrence, properties, Granule, Amylose, Amylopectin, Hydrolysis, Dextrins, Enzymatic Hydrolysis, Glycogen, Cellulose, Lignin, Digestibility, Pectins, Marine polysaccharides)

 Introduction (Definition, General functions, Saponification, Classification)
 Fats and oils (Structure, Triglycerides, Fatty acids, Unsaturation, Hydrogenation, Drying of oils, Iodine value, Saponification number, Rancidity)
 Waxes, Phospholipids (Definition, General functions, Vesicles, Cell wall, Hydrolysis)
 Non hydrolysable lipids (Steroids, Terpenoids)

 Amino-Acids (Zwitterions, Isoelectric point, Titration curves, Classification according to polarity of side group, Properties and reactions, Disulfide bond)
 Proteins (Peptide bond, Primary structure, Secondary structure, Globular proteins, Fibrous proteins)
 Protein examples (Keratins, Collagen – tropocollagen – gelatin, Myoglobin – Hemoglobin)
 Properties (pH Titration, Denaturation, Salting-in Salting out, Quantification tests)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Computer Aided Lab


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
ecture slides will be available prior to lectures to help students prepare for the lecture and take notes.
Extensive written notes on the various lecture topics will be available through Brightspace.

The Computer Aided Labs will consist of a series of short videos showing key experiments used to characterise and differentiate these food biomolecules, with simple multiple choice questions to track progression. Although these CALs will be graded, the low stake grades (2% each) are to ensure student learning.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

A first year chemistry module or equivalent

Learning Recommendations:


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
CHEM00010 - Introductory Chemistry, CHEM00020 - Introductory Chemistry (Ag), CHEM10030 - Chemistry for Engineers, CHEM10040 - The Molecular World, CHEM10070 - General & Physical Chemistry

Additional Information:
Students must have passed ONE of the pre-requisite modules listed.

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Attendance: Attendance, active participation to online classes and discussion board, unstructured individual work. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: Online MCQs Varies over the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Group Project: Small multimedia project on one chosen aspect of food macronutrients, from production to processing to nutrition.
Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Ms Laura Gunning Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3 Fri 09:00 - 09:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Thurs 12:00 - 12:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Autumn: All Weeks Tues 11:00 - 11:50