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Simple Carbohydrates: Structure and Function

by Kevin Ahern, PhD
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    Carbohydrates are molecules whose name literally means hydrates of carbon. As we'll see when I talk about the structural formulas for these, that literally is true. In this lecture, I'm going to discuss the nomenclature associated with carbohydrates, the structures that they have, the ways that they form ring structures, and chemical modifications that are done to them. This slide shows a depiction of monosaccharides, that is, carbohydrates that contain only a single sugar within them. The general formula by which we can describe these is Cx(H2O)x, where x is a small integer. In the case of the sugar glucose for example, the structural formula is C6H12O6. We see this is also true for fructose and galactose. Ribose is a sugar that has five carbons andn its overall structure C5H10O5, glyceraldehyde C3H6O3. In each case we have hydrates of carbon. Disaccharides are carbohydrates that contain two sugar molecules. So for example if we take glucose and we add fructose to it, we get the disaccharide known as sucrose. If we take glucose and we add galactose to it, we get the sugar known as lactose. Or if we put two glucoses together, we get the sugar known as maltose. Polysaccharides are carbohydrates that contain many, many sugars, and usually in the case of carbohydrates, the sugar that's in the polysaccharide is the same one throughout. Polysaccharides include molecules such as cellulose, glycogen, amylose, amylopectin and chitin, and in each case, each of these polysaccharides is a polymer of the same repeating sugar unit. Now there's a lot of nomenclature that's associated with the common sugars and I want to go through that nomenclature, because these are commonly used to describe the sugars and their properties. The first terms I want to introduce are those of aldose and ketose. To introduce...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Simple Carbohydrates: Structure and Function by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course Biochemistry: Basics. It contains the following chapters:

    • Overview of Saccharides
    • Nomenclature & Structure of Common Sugars
    • Cyclization & Cyclic Forms
    • Modified Sugars

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. ...ribose is an aldo-hexose.
    2. ...D-glucose is the mirror image of L-glucose.
    3. ...glucose is an aldo-hexose.
    4. ...fructose is a keto-hexose.
    1. ...two sugars that are mirror images of each other.
    2. ...two sugars that differ in configuration of one carbon.
    3. ...two sugars that differ in configuration of their anomeric carbons.
    4. ...an aldose-ketose pair, such as fructose and glucose.
    1. ...epimers.
    2. ...aldose-ketose pairs.
    3. ...mirror images.
    4. ...enantiomers.
    1. ...boat and chair forms.
    2. ...epimers.
    3. ...anomers.
    4. ...diastereomers.
    1. ...exists in a five membered ring.
    2. ...has five carbons.
    3. ...exists in a six membered ring.
    4. ...cannot exist in a ring at all.

    Author of lecture Simple Carbohydrates: Structure and Function

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD


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