Food Chemistry - Impact Factor

What is Food Chemistry?

Food Chemistry involves the study of the chemical process of all biological and non-biological elements of food. Biological elements refer to things namely beer, milk, meat, lettuce, poultry and more. It is identical to the field of biochemistry and its elements such as proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates but also involves areas such as colours, flavours, water, minerals, vitamins, food enzymes and food additives.

Food chemistry includes how foods may change under the influence of various food processing techniques and measures to prevent or reinforce it from happening. A general example for reinforcing would be fermentation of dairy products with microorganism wherein they are responsible for the conversion of lactose to lactic acid. Another example of food chemistry would be preventing a browning that is formed on an apple that has been chopped fresh by sprinkling lemon juice.

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Table of Contents

Components and Chemicals in Food

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Chemicals are essential building blocks for everything in the world. Chemicals in the food play very important role in everyone’s day to day life. Some components and chemicals in food are discussed below.

  • Carbohydrates

The most common type of carbohydrates used by humans is sucrose. Taking into the account of 80% of food consumed by a human along with 75% of the biological world contains carbohydrate. One of the basic interpretation of carbohydrates is monosaccharide consisting of characteristics of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. A polysaccharide is a chain of monosaccharide. Some of the examples include xanthan, pectin, agar, and dextran. The simplest example of a monosaccharide is glucose.

  • Water

Water forms one of the main components, comprising almost 95% of tomatoes, cabbage, and other vegetables, 75% in meat products. It makes a way for contamination of food and also helps in the growth of bacterias if not processed properly. This can be prevented by reducing the percentage of water present in the food for more self-life. Some of the methods include proper refrigeration, freezing, and dehydration.

  • Proteins

Proteins play a vital role in the functioning of a cell. It comprises of 50% of the dry weight of a living cell when considered as average. It contains zinc, copper, iron, sulfur, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon. Source of proteins include legumes, meat, nuts, eggs, milk and green vegetables.

  • Vitamins

Vitamins are essential for the metabolic activity of a body. They are broken down into Vitamin E and Vitamin C as nutrients. Inadequate supply of vitamins would lead to diseases such as scurvy, anaemia, and beriberi. An exuberance of vitamins would lead to vomiting, nausea and may also lead to death.

  • Food Additives

Food additives are materials that are added in food for improving appearance, taste and even to retain flavours. Some of them are naturally occurring flavours namely sugar and salt. But there are many other flavours that are created by chemists and methyl salicylate is one such example.

  • Food Color

Food colour used to change the colour of a food substance. There are naturally occurring as well as artificially synthesized colours. One of the examples of a naturally occurring food colour is caramel and the artificially synthesized food colour is caramel colouring.

  • Enzymes

Enzymes are biochemical catalysts which are used in converting processes from one substance to another. Enzymes are also involved in decreasing the energy and time required to complete a chemical process. For the production of food products like dairy, fruit juices, beer, bread, etc. enzymes are used in the industries.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


How is chemistry used in food?

In food processing and storage, chemical substances may play an important role. For example, food additives can extend the shelf life of foods; others can make food more enticing, such as colours. To make foods tastier, flavourings are used. Health supplements are used as energy sources.

Why is food chemistry important?

As a major division of food science, food chemistry deals with the structure and properties of foods and the chemical modifications they face. In order to ensure the food manufactured is healthy and of good quality, food chemists often play a significant role.

What are enzymes used for?

Enzymes create chemical reactions in the body. They actually speed up the rate of a chemical reaction to help support life. The enzymes in the body help to perform very important tasks. These include building muscle, destroying toxins, and breaking down food particles during digestion.

What are lipids?

Lipids are organic compounds that are fatty acids or derivatives of fatty acids, which are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. For eg., natural oil, steroid, and waxes.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are biomolecules comprising carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. They are an important source of energy. They are sugars, starch and fibres found in fruits and vegetables.

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  1. Excellent explanation provided along with example