Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


CHED105 Foundations of Chemistry


CHEM112 Organic and Food Chemistry

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of the organic chemistry of food macromolecules, within the context of food science, is key for working within the food and nutrition industry. In this unit students will develop an understanding of the roles that major macromolecules play within foods at the chemical level. The unit is divided into two modules; organic chemistry and food chemistry, and students will learn about the physical, biological, and chemical composition of food, as well as the functions of chemicals in food. This unit aims to help students develop an essential understanding of the theory and techniques employed to analyse the nutrient composition of food as it relates to food content and health claims. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the structure of organic compounds and associated organic chemistry reaction mechanisms according to the functional groups they possess (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Relate the isomerism of organic compounds to their importance in biological and medicinal contexts (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Describe key concepts related to free energy and biologically relevant electrochemistry reaction spontaneity (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - Explain the functions of key chemical components of foods (GA5) 

LO5 - Demonstrate competence in the practical skills and techniques used in organic and food chemistry and analysis of experimental results (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:  

Module A: Organic chemistry   

  • Fuels and hydrocarbons 
  • Conjugation, aromaticity and reactions of aromatic compounds  
  • Chemical structure and reactions between organic compounds with different functional groups  
  • Stereoisomerism  

Module B: Food chemistry 

  • Free energy and reaction spontaneity  
  • Physical, biological, and chemical composition of biomolecules (e.g. macromolecules) in food (carbohydrates, protein, lipids, water)  
  • Food composition analysis 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Content is delivered through lectures, workshops and laboratory practicals.  

Lectures focus on the weekly learning objectives and offer thoughtful explanation of the theoretical background of each topic. Communication with lecturing staff is encouraged to help clarify unclear content, provide regular feedback and assist reflection on the learning material.

Workshops will:

  1. supplement the lectures with weekly question sets related to the relevant learning objectives, allowing staff to provide regular guidance and feedback to students on the application of content knowledge
  2. provide an additional level of support for students, providing more in-depth engagement, with all resources (lectures, readings and practicals) for a particular topic. Students are guided in the workshop sessions by reviewing the theory, followed by a series of questions and case-based scenarios.

In the laboratory, students undertake group and individual work in practical experiments aligned with the theoretical content. These sessions encourage students to engage with their peers, develop laboratory and analytical skills, and make connections between the practical sessions and theoretical content.

Further to this, to ensure students are ready to transition from the Diploma and articulate into the second year of undergraduate study, transition pedagogies will be incorporated into the unit as the key point of differentiation from the standard unit. This focuses on an active and engaging approach to learning and teaching practices, and a scaffolded approach to the delivery of curriculum to enhance student learning in a supportive environment. This will ensure that students develop foundation level discipline-based knowledge, skills and attributes, and simultaneously the academic competencies required of students to succeed in this unit.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment strategies are used in this unit to determine achievement of the intended learning outcomes. 

Online quizzes: These quizzes are held mid-way through each module and assess knowledge of key introductory organic and food chemistry concepts; integral to provide students with feedback as they progress through the unit. 

Practical assessment: The practical assessment provides students the opportunity to demonstrate development of their practical and analytical skills relevant to food and organic chemistry, through collection and interpretation of laboratory data. Students will need to demonstrate competence in critical thinking and problem-solving, common laboratory techniques and laboratory etiquette, recording of measurements, and evaluation of experimental results. 

Examinations: Final examinations assess the organic chemistry and food chemistry contents separately. These exams are conducted at the end of each module and provide students an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the relevant theoretical content taught throughout the unit. 

Strategies aligned with transition pedagogies will be utilised to facilitate successful completion of the unit assessment tasks. For each assessment, there will be the incorporation of developmentally staged tasks with a focus on a progressive approach to learning. This will be achieved through activities, including regular feedback, particularly early in the unit of study to support their learning; strategies to develop and understand discipline-specific concepts and terminology; in-class practice tasks with integrated feedback; and greater peer-to-peer collaboration.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes


The quizzes assess understanding of relevant topic learning outcomes and are conducted mid-way through each module. 

10% (Module A) 

10% (Module B)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8

Practical assessment

Enables students to demonstrate practical application of knowledge and skills developed in the unit.


LO2, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8


Enable students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of unit content. One examination will be conducted mid-semester to assess the organic chemistry content whereas the second examination will be held at the end of semester to assess the food chemistry content. 

25% (Module A)

25% (Module B)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Belitz, H., Grosch, W. and Schieberle, P. (2009) Food chemistry. Springer-Verlag.

Coultate, T. (2015) Food: The Chemistry of its components (6th ed.). Royal Society of Chemistry.

Croxford, S., and Stirling, E. (2017) Understanding the Science of Food: From molecules to mouthfeel. Allen & Unwin Academic.

Vaclavik, V., Christian , E.W. (2014) Essentials of Food Science (4th ed.). Springer-Verlag.

Velisek, J. (2014) The Chemistry of Food. Wiley-Blackwell.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs