Carbohydrates, Polysaccharides and Monosaccharides

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  • Created on: 24-09-10 17:14
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Carbon atoms form bonds with other carbon atoms, allowing a sequence of carbon
atoms of various lengths to be built up to form a "backbone" where other atoms can
be attached.
Carbon-containing molecules are known as organic molecules.
Many organic molecules, including carbohydrates, are made up of a chain of individual
molecules. Each individual piece of the chain is called a monomer.
The carbon atoms of these monomers join to form loner chains called polymers.
Biological molecules like carbohydrates and proteins are often polymers, mostly made up of
just four elements, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.
In carbohydrates, the basic monomer unit is sugar, or a saccharide.
A single monomer is called a monosaccharide.
A pair of monosaccharides form a disaccharide and large numbers of monosaccharides can be
combined to form polysaccharides.
Sweet, soluble substances with the general formula (CH20) n, where n is any number from
Glucose is best known monosaccharide and it is a hexose (6 carbons) sugar and has the
formula C6H1206.
The atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen can be rearranged in many different ways.

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Test for Reducing Sugars
All monosaccharides and some disaccharides (maltose) are reducing sugars.
Reduction is a chemical reaction involving the gain of electrons.
A reducing sugar is a sugar that can donate electrons to another chemical.
The test for a reducing sugar is known as the Benedict's reagent. Benedict's reagent is an
alkaline solution of copper sulphate and when a reducing sugar is heated with Benedict's
reagent, it forms an insoluble red precipitate of copper oxide.…read more

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Polymers, formed by combining together many monosaccharide molecules which are joined
by gylcosidic bonds formed by condensation reactions
They are very large molecules so are insoluble and suitable for storage.
When hydrolysed, polysaccharides break down into disaccharides or monosaccharides.
Some polysaccharides are not used for storage but give structural support to plant cells.
Starch is a polysaccharide that is found in many parts of plants in the form of small granules or
grains e.g. starch grains in chloroplasts.…read more


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