The word ” saccharide ” comes from Greek and means ” sugar “, and is used in biochemistry to refer to a set of molecules essential for life, given its functions as a structural agent and energy container. They are composed of atoms of Carbon, Hydrogen and to a lesser extent Oxygen, so they were also sometimes called carbohydrates or carbohydrates .
Its main classification model, obeys to the amount of molecules present in each, namely: monosaccharides, those composed of a simple molecule of sugar; disaccharides, composed of two molecules joined in one; and polysaccharides, chains of variable complexity that are composed of multiple sugar molecules.
Examples of monosaccharides
- Glucose . Composed of six carbon atoms, twelve hydrogen atoms and six oxygen atoms, it is in a free state in fruits and honey. It is the basic energy substance of life.
- Ribosa . Pentose (five carbon atoms) vital for the synthesis of essential organic substances such as RNA or even ATP, which is vital in the reproductive and energetic circuits.
- Deoxyribose . When an oxygen atom is lost in one of its hydroxyl, the ribose becomes a deoxysugar, such as fucose or rhamnose, and that is when it can be part of the DNA nucleotides.
- Fructose . Coming from fruits and vegetables, it maintains a relationship of isomerism with glucose (same components ordered differently).
- Glyceraldehyde . Composed of three carbon atoms, it is one of the first sugars obtained in photosynthesis and an intermediate step in numerous metabolic cycles (glycolysis).
- Galactose . Sugar of six carbon atoms, which together with glucose make up lactose and give it all its nutritional and energetic potential.
- Erythrose . Monosaccharide very soluble and syrupy appearance, endowed with four carbons and a group of alkeido (formyl). It is present in the cycle of photosynthesis.
- Fucose . Fundamental for the synthesis of fucoidin, it is present in the surface cells of mammals, insects and plants.
- Glucosamine . The most abundant monosaccharide of all, it is an amino-sugar present in the cell wall of fungi and in the chitinous covers of arthropods.
- Psicose . With six carbon atoms and a ketone group, it is a very rare sugar in nature.
Examples of disaccharides
- Sucrose . Table sugar is an intermediate product of photosynthesis, composed of fructose and glucose, synthesized only by plants. It is the main sweetener for human consumption.
- Lactose . Resulting from the binding of glucose and galactose, it is secreted in mammary glands of mammals to feed its offspring, and is fermented by lactic acid bacteria during the making of cheese or yogurt.
- Maltose . Known as malt sugar, it contains a high glycemic load and appears naturally in germinating barley grains, as well as beer and other derivatives of this cereal.
- Cellobiose . Disaccharide composed of two molecules of glucose, appears during the hydrolysis of cellulose and is characterized by being reducing.
- Trehalose . Double sugar present in mushrooms and mushrooms, as well as the hemolymph of insects. You can suffer from intolerance to this sugar, lacking the enzyme trehalase.
- Isomalt . Also present in the germination of barley, is composed by the union of two glucose and is obtained by hydrolysis of starches, for use as a sweetener along with other sugars.
- Gentle . Solid and white sugar, soluble in water or hot methanol, composed of two D-glucoses, and found in numerous seeds and nuts.
- Lactulose . Fructose and galactose union, it is a synthetic yellow sugar, used against constipation and hepatic encephalopathy.
- Turanose . Analogous to sucrose not metabolizable by higher plants.
- Leucrose . A structural isomer of sucrose from hydrolysis of glucose and fructose, is a double sugar very rare in nature.
Examples of polysaccharides
- Celulosa . The most abundant biopolymer in the world, is composed of glucose bonds that allow you to form dense fibers, which are composed of the cell walls of plants and vegetables. It is found in wood and especially in cotton (in its pure state).
- Starch . Main form of energy storage of vegetables, is a macromolecule of polysaccharides and one of the most ingested foods by man from plants.
- Glycogen . Formed by glucose chains, it is the main energy reserve polysaccharide of animals, lodged in the musculature and to a lesser extent in the liver, it is reduced to glucose by hydrolysis in situations of energetic necessity.
- Chitin . Polysaccharide rich in nitrogen, present in the structure of fungi and exoskeletons of arthropods. It is the most abundant natural polymer in the world after cellulose.
- Sulphated polysaccharide present in brown seaweed and sargassum, has certain medicinal uses for humans.
- Xylan . Another very abundant polysaccharide, serves as a carrier and vegetable storage substance, especially as hemicellulose.
- Peptidoglycan . Known as murein, it is a very resistant copolymer, which guarantees the cell structure in numerous bacteria.
- Fructan . It is a polymer formed by fructose molecules, present in plants, fungi and bacteria.
- Gelosa . Known by its Malay name: agar-agar, it is a galactose polymer of non-animal origin, widely used as a laxative and as a bacterial culture agent, as well as in the food industry.
- Heparin . Anticoagulant present in blood and circulatory tissues, is a polymer of sulfated polysaccharides widely used in medicine.