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CHEM105 Foundations of Chemistry

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of the food industry and the role of food science in transforming food components into products in regulated environments is essential for providing industry-relevant contexts to the application of knowledge and skills in nutrition science. This includes a foundational knowledge of the physical, biological, and chemical composition of food and its function, and of concepts underlying food processing, the causes of food deterioration, and the preservation and storage of foods. This unit aims to provide students with a foundational understanding of the theory and techniques employed to monitor both the nutritional content (as it relates to food content claims and health claims) and the chemical, microbial and physical safety of food. A Food Handler's certification is included in this unit.

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 nutritional composition and function of foods (GA5) 

LO2 - Demonstrate an understanding of the science of food in relation to food production, preservation and deterioration (GA4, GA5) 

LO3 - Describe processes involved in developing and implementing food safety management systems/programs, including legislation and government regulations (GA2, GA6) 

LO4 - Apply skills to effectively monitor food safety and quality assurance of food products (GA5) 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


Topics will include: 

  • Physical, biological, and chemical composition of biomolecules (e.g., macromolecules) in food 
  • Food production and processing techniques that alter the composition and nutritional state of food 
  • Microorganisms in food 
  • Chemicals (e.g., fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides) and other substances (e.g., emulsifiers, preservatives, additives) processes used in food production 
  • The chemistry of food processing, storage and cooking 
  • Factors that contribute to food stability, shelf-life, storage and transport 
  • Food safety management systems and programs 
  • Food Handler’s certification 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered over 12 weeks. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of practical skills. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Task  

Enables students to: apply their unit learning as well as demonstrating their communication skills. 


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5 

Practical Assessment  

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


LO3, LO4 

GA2, GA5, GA6 


Enables students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of unit content


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6 

Representative texts and references

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

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

Vaclavik, V., Christian, E.W. (2014) Essentials of Food Science (4th Ed.). New York, NY: Springer-Verlag. 

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

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