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ERIC Number: EJ1062351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-May
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Computational Chemistry Laboratory: Calculating the Energy Content of Food Applied to a Real-Life Problem
Barbiric, Dora; Tribe, Lorena; Soriano, Rosario
Journal of Chemical Education, v92 n5 p881-885 May 2015
In this laboratory, students calculated the nutritional value of common foods to assess the energy content needed to answer an everyday life application; for example, how many kilometers can an average person run with the energy provided by 100 g (3.5 oz) of beef? The optimized geometries and the formation enthalpies of the nutritional components of the food and their combustion products were calculated using molecular mechanics and a semiempirical method, AM1 or PM3, on the lab computers. These data were used to assess the energy content of common foods and compare with food label information. This general chemistry laboratory was designed for students of food engineering, yet it is applicable to students in any general chemistry course. Groups of students have successfully completed the laboratory as described here. The software was introduced, and the calculations were carried out in two, 2.5 h-long sessions.
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A