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Advances in Food Chemistry
FOOD 522
Instructor: Christine Scaman
Office: FNH 247
Office Hours: by appt
Class Schedule: Tu/Th 9:00-10:30am
Classroom: FNH 30
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Course Description

This course is divided into four modules. Each module will focus on a single topic of current interest/concern for a major or minor component of foods - carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and a topic that will change from year to year (i.e. antioxidants, flavour). By focusing on only one topic for each component, you will gain depth in that topic and a mechanistic understanding of the chemistry involved.

It is expected that students will have a background in food chemistry equivalent to that taught at an undergraduate level, and this course will build on that food chemistry core. Extra readings can be made available to students who are missing all or part of this background, and it is their responsibility to do this reading on their own.

Course Format

The course will use a "Team-Based Learning" approach. You will work with your assigned team members (4-5 students/team) for the term. Teams will be formed during the first class. For each module, you will be assigned reading material and I will be giving a lecture covering important concepts. As you go through the assigned readings, you should make a note of material that is unclear. You can ask your questions in your group or to me, or submit questions via email.

You will be given a short "Readiness Assessment Quiz" (RAQ) that will be completed individually, and then as a team to evaluate your understanding of the background information. The RAQ will be based on lecture material, and will focus on broad concepts rather than specific details.

Once the background information has been introduced, you will work in your team to solve a related problem. All teams will work on the same problem and you will be given class time for this activity. I very strongly recommend against dividing up the problem into different components, and compiling the information obtained by different group members. Rather, use the class time to allow discussion among all group members. It will be useful to bring a laptop to class to search for additional information related to the problem.

During one of the classes, all teams will present their analysis/solution to the assigned problem. Each team will be given an opportunity to assess the information presented with the other team, and there will be a general class discussion of the problem/solutions with each group presenting their information followed by class discussion.

General Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Achieve in-depth knowledge of specific areas of food chemistry covered in each module
  • Develop effective communication skills required for team work
  • Become familiar with using data resources available
  • Gain practice with integrating information from different sources
  • Develop skills in critical evaluation of information
  • Gain practice in providing constructive evaluation of peer work

Course Evaluation

Individual Assignment (48%):

  • 12% Individual Readiness Assurance Quizzes (4 @ 3% each)
  • 36% Final Exam (during exam period). The exam will be open book, and may be oral.

Team Assessment (52% - with a "Peer factor"):

  • 12% Team Readiness Assurance Quizzes (4 @ 3% each)
  • 40% Team Work on Problems/Presentations (5 @ 8% each)

A Peer Factor will be calculated using the percentage method. Each team member will complete the peer evaluation form, without evaluating themselves for each module. Each team member will be given a score, so that the total score for all team members will equal 100. I will add the scores that your team members give you. A team member who contributes a lot will receive a score >100, while a member who contributes less will receive a score <100. This score will become a multiplier for the team-based portion of the course.

For example, if you receive a peer evaluation of 80% from your team, and your team assessment is 45% out of a possible 52%, then you will receive (0.8)(45)=36/52 for the team-based portion of the course.

Academic Integrity

The integrity of academic work depends on the honesty of all those who work and study at the university and the acknowledgement of the work of others through careful citation of all sources used in your work. Plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct are treated as serious offences at UBC, whether committed by faculty, staff, or students.

You should be aware of the sections of the University Calendar that address academic integrity (,286,0,0) and plagiarism ( The UBC Library also has a useful web-based Plagiarism Resource Centre ( that explains what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. The copying of passages from any sources, without proper reference will be considered plagiarism. This includes copying of material from another student without acknowledging the source. If you have questions or concerns about any of these policies or conventions in relation to how they apply to the work you do in this course, please discuss them with me.

Course Schedule

Week Module Tuesday Thursday
Week 1 MODULE 1: Course Introduction
  • Course Introduction
  • Trail RAQ
  • Lecture
  • Assign review paper
  • Hand in paper review
  • Paper review discussion
  • Lecture
  • Class time for problem
Week 2 MODULE 1: Problem #1
  • RAQ-Individual/Team
  • Lecture for clarification
  • Class time for problem
  • Class time for problem
Week 3 MODULE 1: Problem #1
  • Class time for problem
  • Presentations and group discussion
Week 4 MODULE 2 (Proteins): Introduction
  • Lecture/readings
  • RAQ-Individual/team
  • Lecture for clarification
Week 5 MODULE 2 (Proteins): Problem #2
  • Class time for problem
  • Class time for problem
Week 6 MODULE 2 (Proteins): Problem #2
  • Class time for problem
  • Presentations and group discussion
Week 7 MODULE 3 (Polysaccharides): Introduction
  • Lecture/readings
  • RAQ-Individual/team
  • Lecture for clarification
Week 8 MODULE 3 (Polysaccharides): Problem #3
  • Class time for problem
  • Class time for problem
Week 9 MODULE 3 (Polysaccharides): Problem #3
  • Class time for problem
  • Presentations and group discussion
Week 10 MODULE 4 (Lipids): Introduction
  • Lecture/readings
  • RAQ-Individual/team
  • Lecture for clarification
Week 11 MODULE 4 (Lipids): Problem #4

No class - Remembrance Day

  • Class time for problem
Week 12 MODULE 4 (Lipids): Problem #4
  • Class time for problem
  • Class time for problem
Week 13 MODULE 4 (Lipids): Problem #4
  • Class time for problem
  • Presentations and group discussion

A final exam ail be scheduled during the regular exam period.

Example Module - Carbohydrates: Bread Staling

Content Specific Learning Outcomes

After completing the readings and problem, you should:

  • Understand the role of starch in bread structure
  • Be aware of the physical and chemical changes that occur during bread staling
  • Be familiar with the methodology that can be used to assess bread structure/staling
  • Develop an understanding of the mechanism of how amylase, hydroxypropylated starch, and beta-cyclodextrins can prevent bread staling


Compare the use of the following three approaches to reducing bread staling:

  • Alpha amylase-treated wheat flour
  • Hydroxypropylated (but NOT cross-linked) starch as an ingredient in breadmaking
  • Addition of beta-cyclodextrin

During the next class, each group will post their answers to the following questions at the same time. The answers can be handwritten or from a computer file. All groups will have approximately 20 minutes to view the other teams' posters. Then, each group will be given 5 minutes to present their answers followed by discussion from the other groups.

Each group will post answers to the following questions:

  1. How does starch contribute to the structure of bread?
  2. How does each amylose and amylopectin affect bread staling?
  3. What are two techniques used to assess bread staling experimentally?
  4. What is the mechanism by which the treatments listed above may inhibit bread staling?
  5. Which method is the most effective and practical to inhibit bread staling commercially?

Marking Scheme

10% - Posted answers to questions and oral presentation with inclusion of all aspects of the problem, originality, practicality, and depth of understanding of the relevant concepts. Each question is worth 2% of the total 10%. Bonus points are possible with contribution to group discussion.


The following readings may be useful and can be accessed through the UBC Library: