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25.10: Other Important Carbohydrates

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    After completing this section, you should be able to identify deoxy and amino sugars, given their structures.

    Key Terms

    Make certain that you can define, and use in context, the key terms below.

    • amino sugar
    • deoxy sugar

    Deoxy Sugars

    As shown in Section 25-7, deoxy sugars are missing an oxygen atom. The most common deoxy sugar is 2-deoxyribose, a modified form of another sugar called ribose. When compared to ribose, 2-deoxyribose has an -OH group replaced with an -H at the 2 position. 2-deoxyribose is best known for being the sugar found in the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

    In water, 2-deoxyribose is an equilibrium mixture of both the furanose and pyranose ring forms. The pyranose form the most stable (40% alpha anomer and 35% beta anomer), followed by the furanose structures (13% alpha anomer and 12% beta), with the uncyclized form making up the remaining 0.7%.

    25.10 deoxyribose.svg

    Pyranose, uncyclized and furanose forms of 2-deoxyribose. The more stable alpha isomer is shown for both the pyranose and furanose forms. Note the missing hydroxide at the 2 position (highlighted magenta)

    Amino Sugars

    An amino sugar (or more technically a 2-amino-2-deoxysugar) is a sugar molecule in which a hydroxyl group has been replaced with an amine group. More than 60 amino sugars are known, with one of the most abundant being N-acetylglucosamine, which is the main component of chitin.


    Chitin is a polymer of 2-deoxy-2- N -ethanamidoglucose (N-acetyl-β-D-glucosamine) and is found in many places throughout the natural world. It is a characteristic component of the cell walls of fungi, the exoskeletons of arthropods such as crustaceans (e.g., crabs, lobsters and shrimps) and insects, the radulae of molluscs, and the beaks and internal shells of cephalopods, including squid and octopuses and on the scales and other soft tissues of fish and lissamphibians. Amino sugars are also found in antibiotics such as amikacin and tobramicin.

    25.10: Other Important Carbohydrates is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Jim Clark, Steven Farmer, Dietmar Kennepohl, Layne Morsch, & Layne Morsch.