1 Chemometrics and Qualimetrics Group of the University of Burgos Faculty of Sciences (SPAIN)
2 University of Burgos, Faculty of Sciences (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 3080-3089
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
The curricula defined by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Burgos for both the Degrees in Chemistry [1] and in Food Science and Technology [2] include the compulsory preparation and public defence of an End-of-Degree Assignment (EDA), which is awarded with 18 and 12 ECTS Credits, respectively, during the eighth semester.

The obligatory nature of this End-of-Degree Assignment makes the availability of a sufficient number of proposals necessary, so that every student will be able to improve his/her skill of analysis and synthesis and of critical reasoning individually. It might be said that an EDA consists on obtaining data from a system under study, translating them into information and converting all this information in real knowledge about that system critically. These skills must be developed with a high degree of autonomy, which involves the offer of a great number of assignments by teachers. Furthermore, the level of knowledge acquired by the student at the end of his/her Degree Studies must be taken into account.

This communication shows a proposal to design EDAs with a common structure but a specific carrying out for every student. It is based on using the students’ knowledge of multivariate statistical techniques, specifically Principal Component Analysis, to explore and extract information from the experimental data (chemical, sensory, etc.).

The Principal Component methodology has been developed and applied during the hands-on laboratory sessions of the Degree in Chemistry subjects “Chemometrics and Experimentation in Analytical Chemistry” (6th semester) and “Multivariate Methods and Process Analytical Technology” (7th semester), as well as in those of “Methods for Quality and Measurement Control” (3rd semester), subject of the Degree in Food Science and Technology. Students have also been trained to handle the software needed for these tasks and have acquired specific knowledge of sensory and/or instrumental analysis.

The three EDAs that are described in this communication have been defended in July 2014. The first one, “Determination of heavy metals and trace elements for the characterization of different kinds of mussels” makes use of ICP-MS and atomic absorption spectroscopy data to identify the origin and the processing of mussels. The second one, “Characterization of vinegars of Modena by means of UV-VIS molecular spectroscopy and sensory analysis”, enables to distinguish high quality vinegars and establish their sensory features. The determination of bisphenol A in a food simulant (acetic acid in water, 3 % v/v) by fluorescence spectroscopy and Principal Component Regression is reflected in the third EDA.

Although the three EDAs share the same multivariate methodology for the extraction of chemical information, every student has had to transform that information into specific knowledge about the corresponding problem under study. This fact forces the student to make a critical reflection that will always be different, even though the same question would be posed again.

[1] Syllabus of the Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of Burgos (2013)
[2] Syllabus of the Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science and Technology from the University of Burgos (2013)
End-of-Degree Assignment, skills, analysis, synthesis, critical reasoning, principal component.