Points to remember: Carbohydrates

• Monosaccharides are the simplest carbohydrates which can be represented by the empirical formula of (C – H2O) atoms. • • Based on the functional groups they possess, monosaccharides can be further classified into two types, aldoses and ketoses. Enantiomers are nonsuperimposable stereoisomers, which are indeed exact mirror images of each other. If (+) enantiomer rotates the plane polarized light for say, 10 degrees in the right direction, then the (-) enantiomer rotates the plane polarized light for the same 10 degrees to the left. • • • • • Fischer Projections was devised by Hermann Emil Fischer in 1891. Using Fischer projection, the three dimensional view of a compound with an asymmetrical carbon can be easily drawn in two dimensions. Epimers are the sugars those which are having two different configurations at the single asymmetric carbon. Anomers are special types of epimers where the configuration differs only in the carbon atom (anomeric carbon) bearing hemiacetal or hemiketal group Like Fischer projections, English chemist Sir Walter N.Haworth introduced Haworth projections are used to represent the three dimensional view of the cyclic structure of monosaccharides. • • • Structural arrangement of a particular molecule is called as ‘conformation’. Glycosidic bond is a special type of covalent chemical bond which joins two simple monosaccharides. Glycosidic bond is of two kinds, one is the alpha glycosidic bond where the bond is formed below the plane of the ring, other is a beta glycosidic linkage where the bond is above the plane of the ring. • • Oligosaccharides are sugars having two or more monosaccharide units combined together by means of glycosidic linkages between the adjacent atoms. Polysaccharides are macromolecules formed by the polymerization of simple monosaccharide or sugar units. E.g mannose, xylose and arabinose

where ‘n’ denotes the number of carbon

Starch is the major form of stored food reserves in cells of plants. Based on structure, it is of two types, Amylose is the unbranched structure whereas amylopectin is the branched starch.

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Glycogen is the glucose storage polymer used in animals. Liver and skeletal cells deserve the major part of glycogen in animals. Ruminants like cow have intestinal microorganisms that breakdown cellulose into monosaccharide nutrients with the help of beta-glycosidase enzymes. Next to cellulose, the abundantly found polysaccharide in nature is chitin. Chitin forms the composition of exoskeletons of many species of crustaceans like lobsters and crabs. The important nucleic acids of RNA and DNA contain carbohydrates as one of their three essential constituents. Deficiency of carbohydrates in the diet can cause carbohydrate deficiency diseases, fatigue, poor mental function and lack of endurance and vigor. Lactose intolerance is a metabolic disorder where the deficiency of lactase enzyme occurs in the gastrointestinal tract. If the gene expression of glucose-6-phosphatase failed to occur, it will lead to ‘hypoglycemia’ which is a condition where enough glucose is not produced to meet the requirements of body.

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Insulin is an important hormone produced in the pancreas in our digestive system. The function of insulin is to convert the sugars into energy. Two conditions may lead to diabetes mellitus, either the body doesn’t have enough number of insulin molecules or all the insulin is not used up properly. This results in an increased glucose level in the blood.

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