Structure and function of carbohydrates

Biology AS edexcel

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Carbohydrates and Monosaccharide

Carbohydrates contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in the ratio (CH2O)n. They are made of saccharide units (sugars).

Monosaccharides have the basic structure of single saccharide examples are: Glucose

  • main substrate for respiartion
  • Soluble, osmotic effect


  • Soluble, osmotic effect


  • 'Fruit Sugar'
  • Soluble, osmotic effect
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Disaccharides are two saccharides for example;


  • Glucose and Fructose
  • Main transport sugar in plants
  • Slouble


  • 'milk' sugar
  • Glucose and Galactose
  • Soluble


  • Glucose and glucose
  • Soluble
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Polysaccharides are made up of many saccharides there are three different types:

Poly-unbranced- Amylose

  • Found in starch - energy storage molecules in plants
  • α-glucose molecules are in tight spirals so this makes them compact
  • Insoluble so no osmotic effect

Poly-branced- Amylopectin

  • Found in starch - energy storage molecules in plants
  • branched chains of α-glucose molecules, there are many ends so its easier to digest more rapidly than amylose
  • Insoluble so no osmotic effect

Poly-branched- Glycogen

  • Energy storage molecule in animals, bacteria and fungi
  • branched chains of glucose molecules
  • compact, insoluble and no osmotic effect.
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Bonds between carbohydrates

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