PhD. Dilşen OKTAY

24 February 2016

Today’s Programme
Introduction to Food Science and Basic Chemistry
• Atoms and Elements
• Molecules and compounds
• Mixtures
• Chemical formulae and equations
• Acids, alkalis and salts

comes from the word “alchemy”.

Chemistry is…
the science of matter, its properties, and its behavior. In this science
we study of the composition, structure, and properties of matter and
of changes that occur in matter.

Food and Science
Food science involves the study of all aspects of science related to
An understanding of the chemical nature of food is essential if one is to
achieve an understanding of the composition of food and the reactions
which take place in food when conditions are changed.
A study of food science will explain, for example, why baking powder
makes cakes rise or why freshly cut apples go brown when exposed to
the air.

All foods are either pure chemical compounds or mixtures of chemical
compounds. Therefore, in order to understand something of the nature
of food substances and the way in which they behave, it is necessary to
have a fundamental knowledge of chemistry.
Substances, also termed matter, can exist in three states:
• solid,
• Liquid,
• gaseous.

Atoms & Elements
All substances that exist, either living or non-living, are made up of
Atoms themselves are made up of smaller particles, the three main
-the proton,
-the neutron,
-the electron.

The nucleus of an atom consists of protons and neutrons. The proton
has a positive electrical charge and the neutron has no charge. The
electron orbits the nucleus and has a negative electrical charge, which
is equal but opposite to the charge on the proton. The simplest type of
atom is the hydrogen atom. Its nucleus consists of a single proton and it
has one electron orbiting the nucleus (see Figure 2.1).
Source: Gaman P.M. and Sherrington K.B., “The Science of Food” Pergoman Press, 1996

In each case, the number of protons is equal to the number of
Since the charges on the proton and electron are equal but opposite,
the atom is electrically neutral.
So far, 118 different types of atoms have been discovered. This means
that matter is made up of 118 fundamental substances called
elements. Each element has its own type of atom; the hydrogen atom,
for example, is different from the carbon atom.

An element is a simple substance consisting of atoms of only one
type. It cannot be broken down into anything simpler by any known
chemical process.
An atom is the smallest particle of an element which can exist and
still show the properties of that element.
Of the 118 elements, 92 occur naturally in the Earth's crust or its
atmosphere. The remainder have been made artificially by the use of
nuclear processes.

Elements can be divided into two groups, according to their chemical
behaviour. They are either metals or non-metals.

Each element has a chemical symbol, i.e. one or two letters which
represent one atom of the element. In many cases this symbol is the
first letter of the name written as a capital : C for carbon

Elements of importance in food science

Source: Gaman P.M. and Sherrington K.B., “The Science of Food” Pergoman Press, 1996

Molecules & Compounds
In many elements, particularly in the gaseous state, atoms are incapable of
existing independently and are found combined with each other. Two or
more atoms so combined form a molecule.

A small number after the symbol H indicates the presence of two hydrogen
atoms in the molecule. The number of atoms contained in each molecule is
constant and is termed the atomicity. Most common gases are diatomic (one
molecule contains two atoms), e.g. oxygen (02 ) , nitrogen (N2) and chlorine
A molecule is the smallest portion of a substance capable of existing
independently and retaining the properties of the original substance.

Atoms of different elements may also combine chemically to form
molecules, e.g. one molecule of water (H20) consists of two atoms of
hydrogen combined with one atom of oxygen. In nature elements
rarely occur in the pure state. They are usually found in combination
with each other as more complex substances.
These substances are called compounds. A compound is a substance
containing two or more elements chemically combined. Water is a
substance formed when the elements oxygen and hydrogen combine.
Sodium chloride ( NaCl) or table salt is another example of a
compound; it contains the elements sodium and chlorine. It can be
seen that a molecule is the smallest particle of a compound that can

The Formation of Molecules
Some elements are very reactive and readily form compounds; others
are unreactive or stable. The electrons of an atom are arranged in
orbits or shells. The reactivity of an atom depends on the number of
electrons in the outer shell and these are called the valency electrons.
Each shell can only contain a certain number of electrons.
Each shell is filled in turn starting with the innermost shell and moving
outwards. If the outer shell is 'full up’ with electrons then that atom
will be stable and unreactive. If a shell is not 'full up' then the atom is
said to be reactive, because it will tend to combine with other atoms to
obtain full shells.

Looking at the three lightest elements…

Elements combine in one of two ways to form
Ionic bonding involves the transfer of electrons. Atoms containing one, two
or three electrons in the outer shell, i.e. metallic elements, may lose
electrons in order to obtain a stable structure. These electrons are donated
to atoms of nonmetallic elements containing six or seven electrons in the
outer shell, thus filling these shells.
For example, during the formation of sodium chloride each sodium atom
loses an electron and this is transferred to the outer shell of a chlorine atom.
Since the sodium atom has lost an electron it will have an overall positive
charge. A charged atom is called an ion. Similarly the chlorine atom becomes
a chloride ion.
The positively and negatively charged ions attract each other and are held
together by this electrostatic force forming a 'molecule' of sodium chloride.

An ion is represented by the symbol for an element together with a
sign indicating the number and nature of the charges it carries:
• Na+ represents a sodium ion,
• Cl~ represents a chloride ion.

An atom which loses two electrons, e.g. calcium, forms ions with two
positive charges :
• Ca2+ represents a calcium ion.
A 'molecule' of sodium chloride contains one sodium and one chloride
ion and can be represented as Na+Cl~. It is more usual to write Na+Cl~~
simply as NaCl. NaCl is not strictly a molecule, since the ions are not
actually joined, but it can be thought of as a molecule for the purposes
of studying chemical reactions and writing chemical equations.

Covalent bonding involves the sharing of electrons. Atoms containing
four, five or six electrons in the outer shell can obtain a stable structure
by sharing electrons. Hydrogen can also form compounds in this way.
The majority of carbon compounds are covalent. Carbon has four
valency electrons, i.e. four electrons in the outer shell, and each of
these is available for sharing.

In the formation of a molecule of methane one carbon atom combines
with four hydrogen atoms as shown in Figure 2.5.

A substance may be composed of two or more elements or compounds
which are physically mixed together but are not chemically combined.
This type of substance is called a mixture.

It is important to distinguish between compounds and mixtures. When
compounds are formed a chemical change takes place.
If substances are only mixed together it is a physical change. Changes
of state, e.g. from solid to liquid, are also physical changes.
In a physical change no new substances are produced but a chemical
reaction always produces new substances.

A compound is a substance which has a fixed composition. For
example, water always contains twice as many hydrogen atoms as
oxygen atoms.
A mixture, on the other hand, has no fixed composition. A mixture of
hydrogen and oxygen could contain 50% hydrogen and 50% oxygen, or
90% hydrogen and 10% oxygen or any other proportions.
A further difference between compounds and mixtures is that a
mixture will always show the same properties as the elements or
compounds from which it is made.

Differences between compounds and mixtures


Have a definite composition

No fixed composition

Do not show properties of constituent

Show properties of constituent elements and

Can only be separated into their constituent
elements by chemical means

Can be separated into their constituents by
physical means

Carbon dioxide

Salt solution

Salt is a compound of the elements sodium and chlorine, whereas a
salt solution is a mixture of the two compounds salt and water.
Air is a mixture of the elements oxygen and nitrogen and the
compound carbon dioxide.
Milk, flour and most other foods are complex mixtures of many

Chemical Formulae & Equations
Chemical compounds may be represented by molecular formulae, which show the number
of atoms of each type of element present in one molecule.

The small number after the symbol indicates how many atoms of that element are present
in the molecule. A large number in front of the molecule indicates the number of
molecules present, e.g. 2H20 represents two molecules of water.

All chemical reactions can be represented by using molecular formulae
and writing a chemical equation. An equation shows the
rearrangement of atoms which takes place during a chemical reaction.
In a chemical reaction matter is neither created nor destroyed and
therefore the same number of atoms of each element must remain
after the reaction has taken place.

An example:

Sometimes in a reaction a group of atoms remained joined together
and tend to behave as a single ion. These groups of atoms are called
radicals. They are incapable of an independent existence and always
combine with other ions.

In order to write a chemical formula or equation, it is necessary to know the
valency of the elements and radicals involved. The valency of an atom or
radical is a whole number indicating its combining power. It is related to the
atomic structure and more precisely to the number of valency electrons.
Valency is equal to the number of electrons needed to be gained or lost in
order to obtain a stable number of electrons in the outer shell (2,8,8, etc.).
The hydrogen atom is the simplest atom and contains one valency electron.
This electron can be given to another atom or can be used to form part of a
covalent bond. Valency is defined using hydrogen as a standard.
Valency is the number of hydrogen atoms which will combine with or
replace an atom or radical.
One atom of oxygen (which has six valency electrons and requires two more
to become stable) combines with two atoms of hydrogen to form water.
Therefore, the valency of oxygen is two.

Hydrogen is capable of showing both metallic and non-metallic
behaviour, when it takes part in chemical reactions. Some elements,
e.g. copper and iron, exhibit more than one valency. In compounds, the
valency is indicated by a Roman numeral placed in brackets after the
name of the element, e.g. copper (I) oxide and copper (II) oxide.
The valency of atoms and radicals may be represented by drawing the
atoms and radicals with hooks. If the valency is one, the atom or radical
is drawn with one hook; if the valency is two, it is drawn with two
hooks, etc. When atoms and radicals combine, all the hooks must link

Acids, alkalis and salts
Nearly all foods contain water and the nutrients in foods are dispersed
in this water. Therefore, in the study of food science it is necessary to
understand something of the nature of water and the way in which it
behaves. Nearly all the water is in the form of molecules but a small
number of molecules are ionised.

In pure water the number of hydrogen ions is equal to the number of
hydroxyl ions, therefore pure water is neutral, i.e. neither acidic nor
alkaline. When substances are dissolved in water, the ratio of hydrogen
to hydroxyl ions may be altered. If the number of hydrogen ions is
greater than the number of hydroxyl ions, the solution is said to be
acidic. If it is the reverse, the solution is alkaline.

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. It is a term
derived from the concentration of hydrogen ions in the solution.

Alterations in pH of solutions are important and can have dramatic
effects, e.g. egg white coagulates when the solution is made very acidic
or very alkaline. The growth of microorganisms can be controlled by
reducing the pH of food. For example, the pickling of foods in vinegar,
which contains acetic acid, is a method of preventing microbial food
spoilage. When foods are pickled, they may change colour, because the
vegetable dyes responsible for colour are altered by changes of pH. Red
cabbage is red when pickled but purple when fresh and blue if placed
in alkali. Vegetable dyes may be used as indicators of pH, e.g. litmus is
red in acids and blue in alkalis. Universal indicator is a mixture of
several indicators and shows the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a

Acids are substances which dissolve in water, producing hydrogen

Properties of Acids
1. The pH of acids is in the range 0 to 7. Acids will turn blue litmus
paper red.
2. Acids have a sour taste, e.g. citric acid is responsible for the sour
taste of lemon juice.
3. Concentrated solutions of strong acids are corrosive and may
damage skin and clothing.
4. Acids react with carbonates or bicarbonates producing carbon

Two Types of Acids
1. Inorganic Acids
2. Organic Acids

Inorganic Acids

These are strong acids and are useful as laboratory reagents.
Hydrochloric acid is one of the constituents of gastric juice. It is
secreted by the stomach Wall and assists the action of the enzyme

Organic Acids
These are weak acids and many are found in foods.

Alkalis are substances which dissolve in water, producing hydroxyl
ions. Alkalis are usually oxides or hydroxides of metals, e.g. sodium

Properties of Alkalis
1. The pH of an alkali is in the range 7 to 14. Alkaline solutions turn red
litmus paper blue.
2. Alkalis have a bitter taste. Very few foods are alkaline.
3. Solutions of alkalis have a soapy feel. A solution of soap in water is
4. Concentrated solutions of alkalis are corrosive.

Some common alkalis are:

Neutralisation is the reaction between an acid and an alkali producing a
salt and water only.

Salts are ionic compounds, which can be produced by neutralisation or
by the reaction between a metal and an acid.

If an acid which contains more than one hydrogen ion is not completely
neutralised, an acid salt is produced.

Properties of Salts
1. Salts have a high melting-point and can be obtained as crystalline
2. Salts in solution in water usually have a pH of 7, i.e. they are neutral.
This is not always the case. If the salt is formed from a strong alkali and
a weak acid, the solution will be alkaline. Sodium carbonate is formed
from sodium hydroxide, a strong alkali and carbonic acid, a weak acid,
and therefore sodium carbonate is alkaline in solution.
3. The solubility of salts varies. Many, but not all, salts are soluble in

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