Organic “Breakfast” Food Testing Lab






     The purpose of this lab is to find and test various types of organic molecules including proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates in common food products. Characteristics of organic molecules will be made evident by using different procedures and stains to identify the macromolecules.


     Can organic molecules be found in food? The chemistry of living systems is the chemistry of carbon-containing compounds.  Carbon's unique chemical properties allow it to polymerize into chains by dehydration synthesis, forming key biological macromolecules such as: proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and (nucleic acids).

     Proteins perform the chemistry of the cell.  Proteins are linear polymers of amino acids (monomers). Because the 20 amino acids that occur in proteins have side groups with different chemical properties, the function and shape of a protein are critically affected by its particular sequence of amino acids. Proteins are typically characterized as fibrous or globular and have several functions such as: energy, movement, transport, defense, structure, and metabolism.

     Lipids are not soluble in water.  Fats are one type of water-insoluble molecules called lipids which are polymers made up of fatty acids and glycerol (monomers).  Fats can be saturated, like animal fat or butter or are polyunsaturated like oils. Fats are molecules that contain many more carbon hydrogen bonds than carbohydrates and, thus, provide a more efficient form of long-term energy storage.  Other lipids include phospholipids and steroids.  Fats are used for energy, insulation, metabolism, structure, and transportation.

     Carbohydrates contain many carbon hydrogen bonds.  Carbohydrates consist of monosaccharides (monomers) or polymers of monosaccharides, and are used principally for energy, which is stored in their carbon-hydrogen bonds.  The most metabolically important carbohydrate is glucose, a six-carbon sugar.  Organisms often transport sugars as disaccharides and therefore, cannot be utilized while they are being transported.  Excess energy resources may be stored in complex sugar polymers called starches (in plants) and glycogen (in animals and fungi) and used for structural material. In summary, carbohydrates can be used as an initial source of energy, structural material, and used to transport energy in the body. The hypothesis is that if proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates are found in basic food produces, then they will be indicated as such using specific stains.