Carbohydrate

Article

January 27, 2022

Carbohydrates or sugars are the most common compounds in the living world. According to the degree of complexity, they are divided into: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Carbohydrates are biological molecules consisting of carbon atoms (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O), usually with a carbon: oxygen ratio of 2: 1 (as in water); in other words, with the empirical formula Cm (H2O) n (where m can be distinguished from n). There are some exceptions; for example, deoxyribose, the sugar component of DNA, has the empirical formula C5H10O4. Carbohydrates are technical carbohydrates; although from a structural point of view it is more precise to look at them as polyhydric aldehydes and ketones. The term is most common in biochemistry, where it is synonymous with saccharides, a group that includes sugars, starch, and cellulose. Saccharides are divided into four chemical groups: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. In general, monosaccharides and disaccharides, which are lower carbohydrates (have a lower molecular weight), are called sugars. The word saccharide comes from the Greek word σάκχαρον (sákkharon), meaning "sugar". While the scientific nomenclature of carbohydrates is complex, the names of monosaccharides and disaccharides very often end with the suffix -osa. For example, grape sugar is the monosaccharide glucose, reed sugar is the disaccharide sucrose, and milk sugar is the disaccharide lactose (see illustration). Carbohydrates perform numerous functions in living organisms. Polysaccharides serve as energy stores (e.g. starch and glycogen) and as structural components (e.g. cellulose in plants and chitin in arthropods). The 5-carbon monosaccharide ribose is an important component of coenzymes (e.g., ATP, FAD, and NAD) and is a component of the basis of a genetic molecule known as RNA. A related molecule of deoxyribose is a component of DNA. Saccharides and their derivatives include many other important biomolecules that play a role in the immune system, fertilization, prevention of pathogenesis, blood clotting, and development. In food science and many informal contexts, the term carbohydrate often means any food that is particularly rich in complex carbohydrate starch (such as cereals, bread and dough), or the term is used for simple carbohydrates, such as sugar (present in bombo)

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