FDSC40500 Chemistry of Nutrients

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module is for students taking the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or MSc in Food, Nutrition and Health.

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 organic substances which are responsible for structure and function in living cells, 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.

Students are not required to attend lectures at the UCD campus as part of the course. Students are expected to spend a total 125 hours workload during the trimester consisting of:
• Online Lectures during the trimester: 24 hours
• Discussion threads/asynchronous chats 24 hours
• Autonomous learning: 75 hours
• Exams: 2Hrs

How will student be assessed?
• 4 MCQ examinations (40%)
• Active Participation (35%)
• End of term project (25%)

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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 food 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 macronutrient and to characterize individual members within a class.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Extensive written notes on the various lecture topics will be available through Brightspace for the students as well as video tutorials explaining key concepts in detail. These notes and tutorials will be supplemented by non-graded video labs consisting of a series of short videos showing key experiments used to characterise and differentiate these food biomolecules.

A discussion board will be open on Brightspace with topics aligned to lectures so as to allow students to interact more freely. These discussions and questions will be answered weekly with video tutorials.

A weekly online session will take place to enable students to interact and do some group activities around topical food issues.

Students will present an end of term multimedia project (short video, poster, infographics, etc) on a given nutrient to showcase their learning on this topic to the rest of the class.

Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

Some Basic knowledge of Chemistry

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Attendance: Attendance, active participation to online learning and discussion board, unstructured individual work Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Multiple Choice Questionnaire: MCQ Examinations Throughout the Trimester n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Project: 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, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Ms Laura Gunning Tutor
Dr Fiona Lalor Tutor