Carbohydrates are considered to be a group of different molecules which are mainly made of starch and sugar. They also contain important elements including Oxygen, Hydrogen and even Carbon. Because they are made of significant elements and components, carbohydrates are proven to be truly essential in different body processes. As you may have noticed, the element content can be reflected in the name of the substance. The term Carbohydrates can actually be derived from Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen.
Carbohydrates can have various structures. They can either be globular in shape or they can also be fibrous depending on the bond that the components of the carbohydrates have. It is said that the larger the carbohydrate compound is, the lesser soluble it becomes in water. This is due to the fact that the components form a thicker structure as compared to those with lesser amounts of sugar. They are not entirely associated with sugars because they can also be related to proteins as well.
The structure of a monosaccharide contains about three to seven carbon atoms arranged in single chain or even single ring structure. The ratio of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen content of monosaccharides is 1:2:1. This leads you to the formula of a simple sugar or a monosaccharide which is (CH2O)n. This simple p is classified and named based upon their carbon atom content.
They are single chain or single ring structures containing from 3 to 7 carbon atoms. Usually the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms occur in the ratio 1:2:1. So a general formula for a monosaccharide is (CH2O)n where n is the number of carbons in the sugar. In this case, if there are three atoms of Carbon, it will be called Triose. If there are four Carbon atoms, it is called Tetrose. Then, the five, six and seven Carbon containing compounds are named as Pentose, Hexose and Heptose respectively. Most important in the body are the pentose and hexose sugars.
The defining characteristic of a monosaccharide structure is that it has one asymmetric Carbon atom which leads to the formation of two isomers which could either be in D or L form. From the two common forms of the monosaccharide, the D-isomer is the most common and abundant in the human body. When it comes to structure, the smallest form is the three carbon chain known as glyceraldehydes and dihydroxyacetone. On the other hand, the large forms with five to six carbons are usually known to form a chain because this is where they are more stable. The six carbon ring is known as the pyranose while the five carbon ring is known as the furanose.
Moving on, the second type of carbohydrates is the disaccharides. They are carbohydrates with two molecules of sugar. These two sugars are joined together by the means of the removal of the water molecule between the groups of hydroxyl. This means as the water molecule is broken down, a new bond is created. The bond that is created between the two sugar molecules is known as the glycosidic bond. One example of a disaccharide is sucrose which is made from two basic sugars or monosaccharides known as glucose and fructose.
The third type of carbohydrate is the polysaccharides which contains a lot of sugar molecules. They can contain about a hundred sugar molecules giving them a structure with a very long chain or ring of monosaccharides or simple sugars that are joined by the means of dehydration synthesis. The bonds that exist between the sugar molecules are known as glycosidic bonds. The polysaccharides are considered to be large molecules thus they are very ideal for storage. They are very important in storage of energy and in the formation of the structure of the organism. Some of the few examples of polysaccharides are glycogen and starch which are mainly found in plants. They serve as the main source of metabolic energy and are considered as both polymers of glucose.