You are on page 1of 40



Carbohydrates are aldehyde or ketone
compounds with multiple hydroxyl groups.

Carbohydrates can also be defined chemically as neutral

compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbohydrates
come in simple forms such as sugars and in complex forms such
as starches and fiber. The body breaks down most sugars and
starches into glucose, a simple sugar that the body can use to
feed its cells.

Carbohydrates functions
Carbohydrates are
energy stores in the body as fuel and metabolic intermediates
that give us our basic energetic, the energy
we need actually to get along. The next important thing is that
they form the part of the structural framework of RNA and
DNA, the essential molecules for life.

carbohydrates form the basic structural framework of RNA
and DNA and nucleic acids and their components, the
structural elements in the cell walls of bacteria and plants
and in the exoskeleton of arthropods. They also play a key
role in cell-cell recognition processes. carbohydrates that
are basically aldehyde or ketone compound that are
multiple hydroxyl groups, these polyhydroxy alcohols, have
the general formula (CH2O)n and n is the number of carbon
atoms that are present.

Starch is a homo polysaccharide and is a non sugar. On
complete hydrolysis, it yields it is a glucan. It
is a reserve food material in plants and found in tapiaco,
cerealas, legumes, potatoes, other vegetables sago
palm, arrow root etc.. It is white
amorphous,tastelessand soft substance.

Configuration of carbohydrates
Molecules, such as the isomers of glyceraldehydethe
atoms of which can have different structural
arrangementsare known as asymmetrical molecules.
The number of possible structural arrangements
for an asymmetrical molecule depends on the number of
centres of asymmetry; i.e., for n (any given number of)
centres of asymmetry, 2n different isomers of a molecule
are possible.

An asymmetrical centre in the case of carbon is
defined as a carbon atom to which four different
groups are attached.
In the three-carbon aldose sugar, glyceraldehyde,
the asymmetrical centre is located at the central
carbon atom.

The position of the hydroxyl group (OH) attached to the central
carbon atomi.e., whether OH projects from the left or the
rightdetermines whether the molecule rotates the plane of
polarized light to the left or to the right.
Since glyceraldehyde has one asymmetrical centre, n is
one in the relationship 2n, and there thus are two possible
glyceraldehyde isomers. Sugars containing four carbon atoms
have two asymmetrical centres; hence, there are four possible
isomers .
Similarly, sugars with five carbon atoms have three asymmetrical
centres and thus have eight possible isomers . Keto sugars have
one less asymmetrical centre for a given number of carbon
atoms than do aldehyde sugars. 16
A convention of nomenclature, states that the form of
glyceraldehyde whose asymmetrical carbon atom has a
hydroxyl group projecting to the right is designated as of the
d-configuration; that form, whose asymmetrical carbon atom
has a hydroxyl group projecting to the left, is designated as l.

All sugars that can be derived from d-glyceraldehydei.e.,
hydroxyl group attached to the asymmetrical carbon atom
most remote from the aldehyde or keto end of the molecule
projects to the rightare said to be of the d-configuration;
those sugars derived from l-glyceraldehyde are said to be of
the l-configuration.

The configurational notation d or l is independent of the sign of
the optical rotation of a sugar in solution. It is common,
therefore, to designate both, as, for example, d-(l)-fructose or
i.e., both have a d-configuration at the centre of
asymmetry most remote from the aldehyde end (in glucose) or
keto end (in fructose) of the molecule, but fructose is
levorotatory and glucose is dextrorotatoryhence the latter
has been given the alternative name dextrose.

When more than one asymmetrical centre is present in a
molecule, as is the case with sugars having four or more
carbon atoms, a series of dl pairs exists, and they are
functionally, physically, and chemically distinct.
Thus, although d-xylose and d-lyxose both have
five carbon atoms and are of the d-configuration, the
spatial arrangement of the asymmetrical centres (at
carbon atoms 2, 3, and 4) is such that they are not mirror

optical rotation has been one of the most frequently
determined characteristics of carbohydrates ,the
rotational behaviour of freshly prepared solutions of
many sugars differs from that of solutions that have been
allowed to stand.
This phenomenon, known as mutarotation.

Most pentose and hexose sugars, therefore, do not exist as
linear, or open-chain, structures in solution but form cyclic,
or ring, structures in hemiacetal or hemiketal forms,
As illustrated for glucose and fructose, the cyclic structures
are formed by the addition of the hydroxyl group (OH) from
either the fourth, fifth, or sixth carbon atom to the carbonyl
group Carbohydrates. carbonyl groupat position 1 in glucose
or 2 in fructose.

In the case of five-membered cyclic ketohexose or six-
membered cyclic aldohexose, the cyclic forms are in
equilibrium with (i.e., the rate of conversion from one form to
another is stable) the open-chain structurea free aldehyde
if the solution contains glucose, a free ketone if it contains
fructose; each form has a different optical rotation value.

Since the forms are in equilibrium with each other,
a constant value of optical rotation is measurable;
the two cyclic forms represent more than 99.9
percent of the sugar in the case of a glucose

The carbon atom containing the aldehyde or keto group is
called the anomeric carbon atom; similarly, carbohydrate
stereoisomers that differ in configuration only at this carbon
atom are called anomers.
When a cyclic hemiacetal or hemiketal structure forms, the
structure with the new hydroxyl group projecting on the same
side as that of the oxygen involved in forming the ring is called
the alpha anomer; that with the hydroxyl group projecting on
the opposite side from that of the oxygen ring is called the
beta anomer.

The spatial arrangements of the atoms in these cyclic
structures are better shown (glucose is used as an
example) in the representation devised by Sir Norman
Haworth; they are still in widespread use.
In the formulation the asterisk indicates the position of
the anomeric carbon atom; the carbon atoms, except at
position 6, usually are not labelled.

The large number of asymmetrical carbon atoms and the
consequent number of possible isomers considerably
complicates the structural chemistry of carbohydrates.

Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants and
certain other organisms transform light energy into
chemical energy.
Photosynthesis in green plants harnesses the energy of
sunlight to convert carbon dioxide, water, and minerals
into organic compounds and gaseous oxygen.

Photosynthesis is the fundamental process that maintains life
on Earth. Living cells convert food into energy and structural
Almost all organisms derive this food, directly or indirectly,
from the organic compounds formed within plants during
photosynthesis. The stored energy in these compounds is
essential for growth, repair, reproduction, movement, and
other vital functions.
Without photosynthesis, not only would replenishment of the
fundamental food supply halt but the Earth would eventually
become devoid of oxygen.

The principal organic products of plant
photosynthesis are carbohydrates.
Formation of the simple carbohydrate
glucose is shown by the equation.

The molecules of glucose produced are usually linked with
other molecules to form more complex carbohydrates.
Other products of photosynthesis are formed by
incorporating mineral elements into the process.
The energy required to break the chemical bonds in
the reactants and to create new bonds in the products is
provided by light. The excess energy not used up in the
chemical reactions is stored as chemical energy in the
organic products formed.

The rate of photosynthesis is dependent on the
following environmental factors: light intensity,
temperature, and the availability of carbon dioxide,
water, and certain minerals.
A shortage of any one of these factors can limit the
rate of photosynthesis, and an increase in the particular
rate-limiting factor will, up to a point, speed up the
The rate also varies with the plant species and
its physiological state.

Photosynthesis is not a single process but consists
of a number of photochemical and enzymatic reactions. In
green plants, the intricate apparatus required for such
complex processes is located in the chloroplasts, the cell
organelles that contain the chlorophyll.

The chloroplasts are crowded with multiple
layers of membranes, the lamellae, composed of proteins
and lipids.
The protein matter includes some of the
enzymes and coenzymes used in the photosynthetic
process; the lipid portion contains two types of
chlorophyll, along with other pigments that assist in
absorbing light energy.