Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Chemistry


Dr Chris Thompson (Clayton); Dr Siow Lee Fong (Malaysia)



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


A detailed account of the chemistry of food substances will be provided. The components present in larger amounts (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals and water), and those occurring in smaller quantities (colours, flavours, vitamins, preservatives, trace metals, both natural and synthetic toxins, and additives) will be discussed. Chemicals used in food production (fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides) and the chemistry of food processing, storage and cooking are also discussed. Methods used in food analysis are considered. The chemistry of the digestion of food and the energy provided by food during consumption are included.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Explore the chemical structure and functionality for the macronutrient categories of carbohydrates, lipids, and protein in food.
  2. Identify the important role of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and water activity in food.
  3. Formulate the links between food types and dietary energy content.
  4. Investigate the analytical techniques used for verifying food content and quality.
  5. Inspect the chemical changes that occur during the processing, storage and cooking of food.
  6. Design experiments through an inquiry-oriented, food chemistry focused laboratory program.
  7. Communicate via written and visual presentations the findings from a multistage laboratory program.
  8. Debate the benefits and potential drawbacks of genetic modification, organic agriculture, and the use herbicides and pesticides in global food production.


Examination (2 hours): 50%
Laboratory based assessment: 20%
Assignments, tests and debates: 30%

To pass this unit a student must achieve a minimum score of 50% in the laboratory practical component and a minimum of 30% for the end-of-semester exam.

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures per week, and 36 hours of laboratory work and presentation time per semester

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


6 points of level one Chemistry