An oligosaccharide is a carbohydrate whose molecule, upon hydrolysis, yields two to ten Monosaccharid molecules. Oligosaccharides are classified into subclasses based on the number of monosaccharide molecules that form when one molecule of the oligosaccharide is hydrolyzed. Oligosaccharides can have many functions including cell recognition and cell binding. For example, glycolipids have an important role in the immune response.
Thumbnail: Structure of galactooligosaccharide. Image used with permission (Public Domain; Klaas1978)