The Structure and Function of Carbohydrates
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The Structure and Function of Carbohydrates
Large biological molecules are called macromolecules, there are giant
molecules (polymers) made up of repeating units (monomers).
Carbohydrates are one of the main classes of biological molecules.
Macromolecule units (monomers) are joined together by condensation
reactions and hydrolysis reactions split macromolecules down into
their individual units. Carbohydrates are molecules that contain
elements of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Carbohydrates have a 2:1
hydrogen to oxygen ratio, there are twice as many hydrogen atoms as
oxygen atoms (the same proportion as in water). Carbohydrates are
categorised in three many groups:
Ã˜ Monosaccharide Â– monomers and therefore contain single surgar.
Ã˜ Disaccharide Â– contain double sugars.
Ã˜ Polysaccharide Â– are large molecules containing many complex sugars.
The general formula for carbohydrates is Cx(H20)y.
Monosaccharides are white crystalline solids with low molecular mass
and sweet tasting. All monosaccharides are reducing sugars because
they all aldehydes. Different monosaccharides contain different number
of carbon atoms. There are three types of monosaccharides, trioses,
pentose and hexose. They generally contain three (trioses), five
(pentoses) or six (hexoses) carbon atoms. Triose is used as a product
in biochemical pathways of respiration and photosynthesis. An example
of pentoses is ribsomes and deoxyribsome. These sugars are found in
the nucleic acid of DNA and RNA. Examples of hexoses are glucose and
fructose. It is an important source of energy in respiration found in
many sweet tasting fruits. There are four different types of hexose
sugars. The slight differences in the way their atoms are arranged
give them slightly different properties. These are shown below:
Î±-glucose: Î²-glucose: Galatose: Fructose:
The main function of monosaccharide is that they are able to move
through bodies, gut walls and therefore important as a source of
energy. All other carbohydrates have to be converted to
monosaccharides before energy can be released and its is due to itÂ’s
small size they are very soluble and it is the form of monosaccharides
that all carbohydrates are carried in the blood.
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Carbohydrates Function Carbon Atoms Large Molecules Important Source Units Solids Fruits
Disaccharides are double sugar molecules. Two monomers like Î±-glucose
molecules can be joined together to form a disaccharides (maltose).
The bond forms between carbon 1 of one Î±-glucose molecule and carbon 4
of the other and is called a glycoside bond. The structure below shows
the formation on the disaccharide maltose:
There are three main types of disaccharides, these include Maltose
(formed from glucose and glucose), Sucrose (glucose and fructose) and
Lactose (glucose and galatose). Not all disaccharides are reducing
sugars. Maltose is s reducing sugar because only one of the aldehyde
groups is involved in the glycosidic link while the other is free to
donate electrons to reduced copper ions. Sucrose is still a
disaccharide but is not a reducing sugar because the aldehyde group
from the glucose and the keto group of fructose are both involved in
the glycosidic linkage (bond). Therefore they are not free to donate
electrons to reduce copper ions.
Polysaccharides are formed from a combination of monosaccharides by
condensation. They are non reducing macromolecules. Polysaccharides
are made up from amylase and amylopectin. Amylases are straight chain
polymers linked by 1-4 glycosidic bonds. Amylopectin also a polymer of
Î±-glucose but itÂ’s molecules are branched. Examples of polysaccharides
are starch, glycogen and cellulose. Starch is a mixture of two
compounds (amylase and amylopectin). Both of these molecules are
polymers containing a large but variable number of Î±-glucose molecules
linked to each other by condensation. Glycogen is stored in the liver
and muscles it is similar to amylopectin but with more frequent
branches. Starch and glycogen are efficient storage molecules because
they are compact and can be stored in relatively small spaces and is
also easily broken down to glucose when need for respiration. They are
both insoluble allowing no osmotic influence on the cell and do not
lower water potential therefore will not be able to diffuse out of the
cell. Cellulose is structural and forms an important part of plant
cells walls. The monomer that forms cellulose is Î²-glucose. They are
unbranched polymers of glucose.
The structure and function of carbohydrates
Carbohydrate is an organic molecule which consists of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. The general formula for the carbohydrate is Cn(H₂O)n. Carbohydrates are made up of individual molecules called monomers. These monomers join together by condensation reaction to make a long chain which is called a polymer. Carbohydrates are categorised in three main groups: monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. Some examples of carbohydrates are starch which is stored in plants, and glucose which is used in respiration to provide energy to the cells. . Bacteria like all other organisms need carbohydrates as source of energy as well. They need to respire in order to grow in large numbers
Monosaccharides consist of one sugar molecule and they are sweet tasting, soluble substances that have the general formula of (CH₂O)n. Glucose, fructose and ribose are examples of monosaccharides. During respiration glucose is broken down into carbon dioxide and water. ATP is released during kerb cycle and glycolysis and it is also generated during electron transport chain. ATP is an immediate source of energy for the cells
Disaccharide is a double molecule of the monosaccharides that is formed by condensation reaction with removal of water. Examples of disaccharides are: maltose (from two molecules of glucose), sucrose (glucose and fructose) and lactose (glucose and galactose). The bonds that are formed between the monosaccharides are called glycosidic bond. However the disaccharides can be hydrolysed by adding water to break the glycosidic bonds and release the constituent monosaccharides. The disaccharides are common dietary components of many foods that we eat therefore play an important function in the human diet. Disaccharides are digested by the body in foods and are broken down back into the monosaccharides and then are absorbed through the small intestine. Lactose is found naturally in milk and so is the nutritional source...