Function and Classification of Carbohydrates

The carbohydrates are vital chemical structures for the human body. In addition to our daily bread and the noodles so delicious that our grandma makes, carbohydrates are also present both at the micro level, in cell walls and as metabolic signals, and at the macro level, being part of the joints, for example.

Carbohydrates are polyhydroxyaldehydes or polyhydroxy ketones, or substances that generate these compounds when hydrolyzed. They are classified into three main groups: monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.

·                  MONOSACARIDES

Monosaccharides are the monomeric structures of carbohydrates, that is, they are the most basic structures that are present in the group of carbohydrates.

·                  OLIGOSACARIDES

Oligosaccharides consist of small chains of monosaccharide units, or residues, joined by specific bonds called glycosidic bonds .

A note is worthwhile here: disaccharides are the most abundant structures of oligosaccharides. However, against the common mistake, not all oligosaccharides contain only two monosaccharides!

·                  POLYESACARIDES

When we talk about polysaccharides, we are dealing with sugar polymers. And what does that mean? There are several monomeric units, in this case, monosaccharides joined by glycosidic bonds forming a chain with more than 20 units, at least. Glycogen, for example, is a glucose polymer!

Figure 4 – Polysaccharide (chitin)

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