AS Level - Structure of Carbohydrates Essay

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The Structure and Function of Carbohydrates     Jay Gadher


A carbohydrate is an organic compound that is composed of atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in a ratio of 1 carbon atom, 2 hydrogen atoms, and 1 oxygen atom. Some carbohydrates are relatively small molecules; the most important to us is glucose which has 6 carbon atoms. These simple sugars are called monosaccharides. The primary function of carbohydrates is for short-term energy storage as sugars are used to supply energy. A secondary function is energy storage (as in starch for plants and glycogen for animals). Other carbohydrates are involved as structural components in cells, such as cellulose which is found in the cell walls of plants.

            Hooking two monosaccharides together forms a more complex sugar, such as the combination of glucose and fructose to give sucrose, or commonly known as table sugar. Compounds such as sucrose are called disaccharides(meaning two sugars). Both monosaccharides and disaccharides are soluble in water. The bond between the two monosaccharides is




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