Dictionary > Saccharide


noun, plural: saccharides
The unit structure of carbohydrates (i.e. an organic compound with a general chemical formula of Cn (H2O) n), such as monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides
The term saccharide refers to the unit structure of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are simple organic compounds that are aldehydes or ketones with many hydroxyl groups added usually on each carbon atom not part of the aldehyde or ketone functional group. The general chemical formula of carbohydrates is Cn (H2O) n. Not all carbohydrates follow this formula and are slightly different in structure from this rule. There are also compounds that seem to follow this rule but are not carbohydrates (e.g. formaldehyde).
They are an essential structural component of living cells. They are an important source of energy for animals.
They may be classified according to the number of monomeric units that comprise them: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, and heterosaccharides.
Monosaccharides are the most fundamental type is the sugars. They are glucose, galactose, and fructose. These simple sugars can combine with each other to form more complex types. The combination of two simple sugars is called a disaccharide whereas those consisting of two to ten simple sugars are called oligosaccharides, and those with a larger number are called polysaccharides.
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