Biomolecules- The Carbohydrates

[This post takes 3-5 min. to read.]



Look- I tried. The chem post is on its way! I promise! But- biomolecules is a seriously vast topic, and I was far too tempted.

So now, to prevent any confusion, I’m establishing a base plan- sort of like a pattern to my blog topics.

  1. A few million biology related posts [I’m exaggerating. Chill.]
  2. One lonely physics post.
  3. Another few million biology posts.
  4. And another lonely chem post.
  6. Repeat.

Yeah. Right now, we are currently in Stage 3.

And now that I’ve cleared all that out, we can like, get to the fun part.

What are carbohydrates?

You probably know these guys super well. They make up the bottom of the food pyramid, and they are basically things like rice and wheat and potatoes.

Carbohydrates are also one of the four biomolecules and they include things like starch and glucose.

They are made of 3 kinds of atoms- carbon[C], hydrogen[H] and oxygen[O].

Types of carbohydrates –>

There are three main types of carbohydrates- monosaccharide, disaccharide and polysaccharide[all the words are pronounced with a hard ‘C’].

Monosaccharide is one monomer[single unit]. Monosaccharides like galactose and fructose make up disaccharides, and disaccharides like sucrose and maltose make up polysaccharides like glycogen and cellulose.

Monosaccharides –>

Monosaccharides taste sweet, and are soluble in water. They fall under the umbrella of simple sugars.

Things like glucose, fructose, galactose, ribose and xylose are all monosaccharides.

All monosachcarides are ring-shaped, and the most important one is glucose. The structure of glucose is a ring made of carbon and oxygen, with more carbon, oxygen and hydrogen pointing in and out of the ring. The formula for glucose is- C6H12O6, which means 6 carbon atoms, 12 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms.

Disaccharides –>

Disaccharides are 2 monosaccharides joined together with a bond of hydrogen, called a glycosidic bond. I know- in the above image, the bond is that of oxygen. How that happens is another story altogether, and completely unneccesary for now.

Disaccharides, like monosaccharides, are soluble in water and taste sweet. They are also simple sugars.

Things like maltose, lactose, and sucrose are all disaccharides. Maltose is important to the body- glycogen[a polysaccharide], is broken down into maltose when it has to be used.

Maltose is made of two glucose monomers joined together. Sucrose is made of glucose and fructose joined together. And lactose is made of galactose and glucose joined together.

Polysaccharides –>

Polysaccharides! Try saying it 10 times, super fast. Tongue twister right there. No-seriously. Biology has a bad reputation when it comes to BIG words.

Anyways- polysaccharides aren’t like disaccharides and monosaccharides. They aren’t simple sugars, but are instead complex carbohydrates. They don’t dissolve in water, and nor do they taste sweet- this is because of their molecular structure.

Polysaccharides are the most abundant carbohydrate in food. They are made of many, many monomers joined together in chains. Examples of polysaccharides are glycogen, starch and cellulose.

Polysaccharides are several monosaccharides and disaccharides joined in chains. Some are simply chains, with bonds that go only left and right- some are branches, with bonds that go left, right, up and down.

Due to their differed molecular structure, polysaccharides have to first be broken down into disaccharides, then those disaccharides are further broken down to monosaccharides.

Why polysaccharides are Public Enemy No. 1 [at least, your digestive system seems to think so] –>

Now, you’re probably like whaaaaaaaa?

The title basically means why polysacchrides are bad for the digestive system.

Since polysaccharides have to be broken down even more than normal, large amounts of these pass into the intestines- undigested. The intestinal residents- bacteria- are super happy about this. Normally, all they get is slimy, poopy leftovers. But disaccharides! What a feast!

As a return gift for the feast, the bacteria produce large amounts of gas and acid [to aid in eating the disaccharides.] The gas pressure increases dramatically, aaaaaaaand, to relieve this, you fart. And burp. ALOT.

All that gas gives false signals to your tummy, and your poor tummy produces even more acid to help stuff digest. All that acid degenerates the linings of tissue, and results in heartburn.

So, now you know why the bathroom stinks after somebody eats way too much asparagus. [Asparagus=plant=cell wall=cellulose=polysaccharide]

And we’re done for today.

And here’s your Space Bonus- [Not going to tell you what it’s about.]

And goodbye.

Published by girrrrrl_of_two_worlds

hi! just a nerdy girl here. lover of science, english and learning on the whole. spreading knowledge is one of my favorite things to do! nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. ~marie curie

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