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Food - the Chemistry of its Components.

Food - the Chemistry of its Components

Mr Coultate is at the Department of Biotechnology, the South Bank Polytechnic and as a lecturer is much in tune with the requirements of those needing to understand how our food is made up. As he says at the beginning, his students found most of the errors in the first edition and this second one includes new material as well.

Following an introduction, there is a chapter on sugars that has subsections on monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, sugars as solids, sugars in solution, decomposition and analysis. The next is on polysaccharides with sections on starch, pectins, seaweed polysaccharides, celluloses and hemicelluloses, gums and analysis. A chapter on lipids covers fatty acids - structure and distribution, essential fatty acids, reactions of unsaturated fatty acids, rancidity, triglycerides and polar lipids. Protein is the next subject and that is divided into amino acids, protein structure, essential amino acids, analysis, milk, meat and bread. The one on colours deals with chlorophylls, carotenoids, anthocyanins, betalines, melanines, natural food colourants and artificial food colourants. Flavours is another subject area with sections of sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, astringency, pungency, meatiness, fruitiness and synthetic flavouring. Vitamins have a chapter to themselves and the discussion areas are thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, cobalamin, folic acid, biotin and pantothenic acid, ascorbic acid, retinol, cholecalciferol, vitamin E and vitamin K. Preservatives is the next subject and here the topics are sodium chloride, nitrites, smoke, sulphur dioxide, benzoates, other organic acids, nisin and food irradiation. The following chapter in intriguingly entitled undesirables but it deals with endogenous toxins of plant foods, endogenous toxins of animal foods, mycotoxins bacterial toxins, toxic agricultural residues, toxic metal residues and toxins generated during heat treatment of food. The one on minerals deals with bulk minerals and trace minerals. Under the heading water, the author examines water structure, interactions of water with food components, interaction of water with food materials, water binding and water determination.

One can immediately see that the author has been thorough in his choice of subjects but as he says, man has to learn to continuously adapt, and so far he seem to have done that tolerably successfully. Increasing knowledge of food and its properties and reactions can only help the manufacturer and processor to provide a wider range of healthy and nutritious food for our wellbeing, and we have to start with a basic understanding of what it is all about, and that is just the subject area this book covers.
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Publication:Food Trade Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1989
Words:411
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