<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Discuss the role of carbohydrates in cells and in the extracellular materials of animals and plants
  • Explain the classifications of carbohydrates
  • List common monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides

Most people are familiar with carbohydrates, one type of macromolecule, especially when it comes to what we eat. To lose weight, some individuals adhere to “low-carb” diets. Athletes, in contrast, often “carb-load” before important competitions to ensure that they have enough energy to compete at a high level. Carbohydrates are, in fact, an essential part of our diet; grains, fruits, and vegetables are all natural sources of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy to the body, particularly through glucose, a simple sugar that is a component of starch    and an ingredient in many staple foods. Carbohydrates also have other important functions in humans, animals, and plants.

Molecular structures

Carbohydrates can be represented by the stoichiometric formula (CH 2 O) n , where n is the number of carbons in the molecule. In other words, the ratio of carbon to hydrogen to oxygen is 1:2:1 in carbohydrate molecules. This formula also explains the origin of the term “carbohydrate”: the components are carbon (“carbo”) and the components of water (hence, “hydrate”). Carbohydrates are classified into three subtypes: monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides

Monosaccharides (mono- = “one”; sacchar- = “sweet”) are simple sugars, the most common of which is glucose. In monosaccharides, the number of carbons usually ranges from three to seven. Most monosaccharide names end with the suffix -ose. If the sugar has an aldehyde group (the functional group with the structure R-CHO), it is known as an aldose, and if it has a ketone group (the functional group with the structure RC(=O)R'), it is known as a ketose. Depending on the number of carbons in the sugar, they also may be known as trioses (three carbons), pentoses (five carbons), and or hexoses (six carbons). See [link] for an illustration of the monosaccharides.

The molecular structures of glyceraldehyde, an aldose, and dihydroxyacetone, a ketose, are shown. Both sugars have a three-carbon backbone. Glyceraldehyde has a carbonyl group (c double bonded to O) at one end of the carbon chain with hydroxyl (OH) groups attached to the other carbons. Dihydroxyacetone has a carbonyl group in the middle of the chain and alcohol groups at each end. The molecular structures of linear forms of ribose, a pentose, and glucose, a hexose, are also shown. Both ribose and glucose are aldoses with a carbonyl group at the end of chain,and hydroxyl groups attached to the other carbons.
Monosaccharides are classified based on the position of their carbonyl group and the number of carbons in the backbone. Aldoses have a carbonyl group (indicated in green) at the end of the carbon chain, and ketoses have a carbonyl group in the middle of the carbon chain. Trioses, pentoses, and hexoses have three, five, and six carbon backbones, respectively.

The chemical formula for glucose is C 6 H 12 O 6 . In humans, glucose is an important source of energy. During cellular respiration, energy is released from glucose, and that energy is used to help make adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Plants synthesize glucose using carbon dioxide and water, and glucose in turn is used for energy requirements for the plant. Excess glucose is often stored as starch that is catabolized (the breakdown of larger molecules by cells) by humans and other animals that feed on plants.

Galactose (part of lactose, or milk sugar) and fructose (found in sucrose, in fruit) are other common monosaccharides. Although glucose, galactose, and fructose all have the same chemical formula (C 6 H 12 O 6 ), they differ structurally and chemically (and are known as isomers) because of the different arrangement of functional groups around the asymmetric carbon; all of these monosaccharides have more than one asymmetric carbon ( [link] ).

Questions & Answers

plant cell is plasmolysed as a result of the
Favour Reply
"Head of a pin" means what?
Theresah Reply
types of genotype and types of blood group
Adebusuyi Reply
what is biology
Musa Reply
is the study of cell and structure of an organism
Atem
is the study of characteristics,life processes and phenomana of living organism
Atem
What is Monomer of protein?
Dimpho Reply
What's nutrition and types of nutrition
Jessica Reply
Why is cheetah d fastest animal
Jessica Reply
because they are capable of reaching speeds of up to 70mph
Abu
Thanks
Jessica
what is a cell
Reuben Reply
what is an enzymes
Reuben
a cell is a biological catalyst that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction without itself been changed
Israel
a cell is smallest unit of life
Francis
an Enzyme helps speed up a chemical reaction
Francis
is the basic structural and functional unit of all organism
Atem
what is deamination
Mutebi Reply
Is the removal of amino radical from amino acid or any other amino compound.
Esnart
what is metabolism
Allen Reply
metabolism is the the combination of all the reaction that occur within your body
xjuicy_editzz
These reaction can be either anabolic (which is the building up of molecules) or can be catabolism (breaking of molecules) but these processes occur simultaneously to maintain homeostasis(internal body environment) within the body.
xjuicy_editzz
hope that helps :D !!
xjuicy_editzz
list 20 element in their order
Dor Reply
hydrogen helium lithium beryllium boron carbon nitrogen oxygen fluorine neon sodium Magnesium aluminium silicon phosphorus sulfur chlorine Aaron potassium calcium -Also if anyone is having trouble remembering the elements I recommend watching "The Periodic Table of elements song" :)
xjuicy_editzz
anabolic, Because ATP is needed
Avuyileji Reply
?
xjuicy_editzz
definition of biology
LENARD Reply
the branch of science that deals with the study of plants and animals
Emmanuel
alkaloids are excretory product use for
Kekere Reply
What is venation
Mohamed Reply

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now




Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Biology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask