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Chemistry LibreTexts

6: Carbohydrates

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    • 6.1: Overview of Carbohydrates
      Carbohydrates are an important group of biological molecules that includes sugars and starches. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use energy from sunlight to synthesize carbohydrates. A monosaccharide is the simplest carbohydrate and cannot be hydrolyzed to produce a smaller carbohydrate molecule. Disaccharides contain two monosaccharide units, and polysaccharides contain many monosaccharide units.
    • 6.2: Stereoisomers
      One of the interesting aspects of organic chemistry is that it is three-dimensional. A molecule can have a shape in space that may contribute to its properties. Molecules can differ in the way the atoms are arranged - the same combination of atoms can be assembled in more than one way. These compounds are known as isomers. Isomers are molecules with the same molecular formulas, but different arrangements of atoms.
    • 6.3: Classifying Monosaccharides
      Monosaccharides can be classified by the number of carbon atoms in the structure and/or the type of carbonyl group they contain (aldose or ketose). Most monosaccharides contain at least one chiral carbon and can form stereoisomers. Enantiomers are a specific type of stereoisomers that are mirror images of each other.
    • 6.4: Important Monosaccharides
      Three abundant hexoses in living organisms are the aldohexoses D-glucose and D-galactose and the ketohexose D-fructose.
    • 6.5: Reactions of Monosaccharides
      Monosaccharides that contain five or more carbons atoms form cyclic structures in aqueous solution. Two cyclic stereoisomers can form from each straight-chain monosaccharide; these are known as anomers. In an aqueous solution, an equilibrium mixture forms between the two anomers and the straight-chain structure of a monosaccharide in a process known as mutarotation.
    • 6.6: Disaccharides
      Maltose is composed of two molecules of glucose joined by an α-1,4-glycosidic linkage. It is a reducing sugar that is found in sprouting grain. Lactose is composed of a molecule of galactose joined to a molecule of glucose by a β-1,4-glycosidic linkage. It is a reducing sugar that is found in milk. Sucrose is composed of a molecule of glucose joined to a molecule of fructose by an α-1,β-2-glycosidic linkage. It is a nonreducing sugar that is found in sugar cane and sugar beets.
    • 6.7: Oligosaccharides
      Carbohydrates containing between three and nine monosaccharides that are chemically combined are known as oligosaccharides. These molecules are more complex than mono- or disaccharides, but are not the most complex carbohydrates. However, they play important roles in identifying blood types. Cell markers are carbohydrate chains on the surface of cells where they act as “road signs” allowing molecules to distinguish one cell from another.
    • 6.8: Polysaccharides
      Starch is a storage form of energy in plants. It contains two polymers composed of glucose units: amylose (linear) and amylopectin (branched). Glycogen is a storage form of energy in animals. It is a branched polymer composed of glucose units. It is more highly branched than amylopectin. Cellulose is a structural polymer of glucose units found in plants. It is a linear polymer with the glucose units linked through β-1,4-glycosidic bonds.
    • 6.E: Carbohydrates (Exercises)
    • 6.S: Carbohydrates (Summary)
      To ensure that you understand the material in this chapter, you should review the meanings of the bold terms in the following summary and ask yourself how they relate to the topics in the chapter.