Surrey University Stag

FOOD: CHEMISTRY, FUNCTIONALITY AND HEALTH EFFECTS - 2023/4

Module code: BMS3059

Module Overview

This module covers a variety of important components in foods that arise from the chemical and biochemical transformations which occur during the processing, storage and preparation of foods. It builds on previous modules concerned with food science in terms of enhancing the understanding of the complex reactions that occur in foods. This will be done by examining the published research that has occurred in the field. The emphasis is focussed on understanding how the compounds are formed, the levels present and their role in food safety, acceptability and health effects.

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

GRASSBY Terri (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: D610

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 69

Lecture Hours: 19

Seminar Hours: 16

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 35

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Pre-requisite BMS2042 Food Science: Perception, Processing & Preservation

Module content





Indicative content includes:

Introduction and overview of the module and some information on assessment and feedback




Pigment and volatile formation during food processing




Reactions involving sugars, ascorbate, amino acids and proteins




Heterocyclic amines formation and safety considerations




The chemistry and role of sulphite in foods, including safety aspects




The chemistry and role of nitrate, nitrite and nitroso compounds in foods, including safety aspects




Chemical and enzymatic modification of proteins




Protein-protein interactions




Protein-polysaccharide interactions




Protein-lipid and oxidised lipid interactions




Trans fatty acids and lipid oxidation products




The nature of phenols and tannins - introduction to structures and terms




Phenols and tannins - transformations during processing e.g. in tea and coffee




Phenols and tannins - dietary burden, absorption and metabolism




Phenols and tannins - biological effects and relevance




Free radicals, radical scavengers and antioxidants




Anti-oxidants in vivo and in vitro (including assessment methods in their relevance)

Bulk sugar replacers




Workshop on current topics in Food Chemistry – current research in Food Science at the University of Surrey

Critical review of a current peer-reviewed publication in Food Chemistry – what key features to look for in an article




Tutorials/seminars on lecture content and background reading



Guidance and feedback tutorials on assessments



Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK - CRITICAL REVIEW ESSAY 30
Coursework TWO ESSAYS (1500 WORDS EACH) 70

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they can describe, explain and understand the complex reactions that occur during the processing of foods. The assessment strategy is also designed to provide students with the opportunity to show that they understand the role that these and other compounds have in foods in terms of their safety and acceptability.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:



  • Critical review (2000 words) due middle of Semester 1 - From topics in weeks 1-3 (Guidance on critically reviewing papers for inclusion in this review will be provided in week 1 or 2)


  • Two essays with abstracts (1500 words each) due end of Semester 1 - Students must answer 2 out of 4 questions (Questions will be released once all content has been made available)



Both assessments will have assessment briefs. Word limits will allow +10%. Work that is more than 10% over the word limit will incur a penalty of 10% (e.g. an essay given 73% based on the content, will be marked as 63% if it is more than 10% over the word limit).

Formative assessment and feedback

General feedback will be given on both summative assessments. This will be given verbally during feedback tutorials, recorded and uploaded to SurreyLearn. More detailed and individualised feedback will be given on the marked assignment within three semester weeks, so feedback from assessment 1 will be available for assessment 2.

Formative feedback will be through discussion boards on Surreylearn and at seminars/tutorials.

Module aims

  • Formation and significance of heterocyclic products during non-enzymic browning. Role in non-enzymic browning of reactants other than sugars and amino acids
  • Polymerisation and pigment formation during non-enzymic browning
  • Mutagen formation and significance during non-enzymic browning
  • The significance and origin of nitrate and nitrite and their safety
  • Reactions and significance of sulphite in food - problems and possible alternatives
  • Protein-protein, protein-polysaccharide and protein-lipid interactions
  • Chemistry and role of trans fatty acids and lipid oxidation products in foods and their health effects
  • The nature of phenols and tannins in food and their transformation and a critical assessment of the evidence pertaining to their possible beneficial health effects
  • The uses and limitations of bulk sugar replacers in foods.
  • Examine critically recently published information that increases our knowledge of (bio)chemical transformations which occur during food processing, storage and/ or preparation and which have a bearing on safety, acceptability and health effects.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of non-enzymic browning using illustrative formulae and equations, and of the role of non-enzymic browning in determining food acceptability KCP
002 Demonstrate an understanding of the reactions occurring and the factors predisposing to mutagen formation in cooked/processed food, and their dietary significance KC
003 Demonstrate an understanding of the occurrence and behaviour in foods of nitrate, nitrite and sulphite and present a balanced assessment of their risks and benefits. KCPT
004 Demonstrate an understanding of the reactions for modifying proteins and their impact on structure and function. KCP
005 Have a good understanding of the role of trans fatty acids and lipid oxidation products in foods and their health effects. KCP
006 Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of protein-lipid, protein-protein, protein-polysaccharide interactions and their effects on the formation of gels, foams and emulsions, and on astringency. KCP
007 Demonstrate a knowledge of the nature and diversity of phenols and tannins in foods, their transformation during processing and technological significance, illustrated by relevant formulae and equations. KCP
008 Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the evidence pertaining to the suggested health effects associated with dietary phenols and tannins. KCT
009 Demonstrate a knowledge of the uses and limitations of bulk sugar replacers in foods. KCP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Build on students existing knowledge in the field of food science/food chemistry and to develop their appreciation and thorough understanding of the fundamental chemical and biochemical transformations that occur in foods, and potential health risks/benefits associated with them. This aligns with the programme strategy to help students acquire knowledge and develop a thorough understanding of food components and their role in food safety and acceptability.

The learning and teaching methods include:



  • Lectures, 2-4 hours per week x 9 weeks, which will be recorded (new content will be avoided in weeks leading up to assessment deadlines in favour of assessment guidance)


  • Seminars, ~1 hour per week x 11 weeks, for discussion of lecture content and background reading, these will generally be recorded 


  • Workshop on current topics in Food Chemistry promoting discussion of topics (~2 hours)


  • Assessment specific tutorials to provide guidance and feedback (~5 hours)


  • Extensive reading list (starting point for assessments and seminar discussions)


  • SurreyLearn video clips on some aspects of the module, plus recordings of lectures/seminars for future reference


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS3059

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Food Science and Nutrition BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Nutrition BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Nutrition and Dietetics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.