Organic chemistry


The main aims of this course are: To provide essential background in fundamental concepts of Organic Chemistry. To provide an in-depth knowledge of the major categories of organic reactions and the corresponding reaction mechanisms. To introduce the logic of designing a synthetic approach to organic compounds bearing more complex structures, such as natural products. To study the families of compounds encountered in food chemistry (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, amino acids) and analyse their main structural features and reactivity profiles.      


Basic knowledge of General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry is required.

Learning Outcomes

After the completion of the course, the students will be able to:   Correctly name alkanes, cycloalkanes, bicyclic alkanes and derivatives, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, ethers, carbonyl compounds. Draw accurate cyclohexane comformations, perform conformational analysis and identify and draw cis and trans stereoisomers of cycloalkanes.  Identify asymmetric carbon atoms and assign the R or S configuration. Describe and elaborate on the various characteristics of the main organic reactions mechanisms.   Predict the products of nucleophilic substitution and elimination reactions, including stereochemistry.  Design a synthetic pathway appropriate for the synthesis of structurally simple organic compounds.   Have the indispensable knowledge of the structural features and main reactivity characteristics of the families of compounds encountered in food chemistry.    


This unit aims to provide students coming from a variety of disciplines (agriculture, horticulture, biology, biochemistry, food technology, dietetics and nutrition) with a comprehensive understanding of the main concepts of Organic Chemistry.   The course outline includes: a)     Nomenclature of organic compounds: IUPAC rules for naming different families of organic compounds. b)     Alkanes, cycloalkanes and their stereochemistry: Newman Projections, conformational analysis of alkanes and cycloalkanes, cis and trans isomerism in cycloalkanes, nomenclature and conformations of polycyclic molecules. c)      Stereochemistry: chirality, optical activity, sequence rules for specifying configuration, diastereomers, meso-compounds, Fischer Projections. d)     An overview of organic reactions: classification of organic reactions, introduction to reaction mechanisms. e)     Radical Reactions: halogenation of alkanes f)        Electrophilic Addition Reactions of alkenes g)     Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions: the SN1 and SN2 mechanisms. h)      Elimination Reactions: the E1 and E2 mechanisms. i)        Applications of the reaction mechanisms to the design of a synthetic approach to a desired molecule j)        Carbohydrates: structure and reactions of monosaccharides. k)      Amino acids, peptides and proteins: structure, isoelectric point, introduction to peptide synthesis. l)        Lipids: classification and structure.  

Content Delivery

This unit is a fundamental course, providing students with the background knowledge of Organic Chemistry needed in order to follow more specific courses, such as chemistry of natural products, biochemistry and food chemistry. Students are expected to learn the most important aspects of Organic Chemistry (conformations, stereochemistry, representative families of organic compounds, reaction mechanisms) and acquire the skill to design of a synthetic sequence leading to a desired molecule.   The delivery of the unit is accomplished through lectures and includes active participation of the students throughout the course as they are asked to solve problems and design synthetic sequences, which are in turn discussed in the classroom. This involves both individual and group working. Problem solving in the classroom is essential in order to achieve the learning outcomes of this course and induces collaboration skills.  

Coursework And Assignment Details

The assessment of this course is a written examination which consists of multiple choice questions, true or false statement characterisation with full justification required and problem solving.   The students are informed about the type of assessment during the course and have solved similar exercises and problems throughout the course.