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Published by Ernesto Flores

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Published by: Ernesto Flores on Jan 29, 2012
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01/29/2012

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Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules of repeated monomer units joined together by glycosidic bonds.

They range in structure from linear to highly branched. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Depending on the structure, these macromolecules can have distinct properties from their monosaccharide building blocks. They may be amorphous or even insoluble in water.[1][2] When all the monosaccharides in a polysaccharide are the same type, the polysaccharide is called a homopolysaccharide or homoglycan, but when more than one type of monosaccharide is present they are called heteropolysaccharides or heteroglycans.[3][4] Examples include storage polysaccharides such as starch and glycogen, and structural polysaccharides such as cellulose and chitin. Polysaccharides have a general formula of Cx(H2O)y where x is usually a large number between 200 and 2500. Considering that the repeating units in the polymer backbone are often six-carbon monosaccharides, the general formula can also be represented as (C6H10O5)n where 40”n”3000. Hydrolysis of polysaccharides

Sucrose. The glycoside bond is represented by the central oxygen atom, which holds the two monosaccharide units together. Monosaccharides can be linked together by glycosidic bonds, which can be cleaved by hydrolysis. Two, three, several or many monosaccharides thus linked form disaccharides, trisaccharides, oligosaccharides or polysaccharides, respectively. Enzymes that hydrolyse glycosidic bonds are called "glycoside hydrolases" or "glycosidases". The best-known disaccharide is sucrose (table sugar). Hydrolysis of sucrose yields glucose and fructose. Invertase is a sucrase used industrially for the hydrolysis of sucrose to so-called invert sugar. Lactase is essential for digestive hydrolysis of lactose in milk. Deficiency of lactase in humans causes lactose intolerance. The hydrolysis of polysaccharides to soluble sugars is called "saccharification". Malt made from barley is used as a source of -amylase to break down starch into the disaccharide maltose, which can be used by yeast to produce beer. Other amylase enzymes may convert starch to glucose or to oligosaccharides. Cellulose is converted to glucose or the disaccharide cellobiose by cellulases. Animals such as cows (ruminants) are able to digest cellulose because of symbiotic bacteria that produce cellulases

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