Food & Nutraceutical Chemistry

This discipline encompasses how products change under certain food processing techniques and ways either to enhance or to prevent them from happening. An example of enhancing a process would be to encourage fermentation of dairy products with microorganisms that convert lactose to lactic acid; an example of preventing a process would be stopping the browning on the surface of freshly cut apples using lemon juice or other acidulated water. Food chemistry is the study of chemical processes and interactions of all biological and non-biological components of foods. The biological substances include such items as meat, poultry, lettuce, beer, and milk as examples. It is similar to biochemistry in its main components such as carbohydrates, lipids, and protein, but it also includes areas such as water, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, food additives.

Nutraceuticals are biologically active phytochemicals that possess health benefits. These may be delivered to the consumer as a dietary supplement and/or as a functional food. These products are likely to play a vital role in human health and longevity. The consumption of these products by the vast majority of the public is usually without a medical prescription and/or supervision. The impact of consumer confidence in the growth and survival of the dietary supplement industry is, therefore, direct and enormous. Recent improvements in the identification and standardization of botanical materials, coupled with screening by human cell line and gene expression-directed fractionation, are expected to expedite the development of new nutraceuticals and drugs. These will afford an immediate benefit to the rapidly emerging alternative, complementary, and integrated healthcare practices.