[Biology] Carbohydrates

A carbohydrate is either sugar or polymer of sugars consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

DEFINITION:

Carbohydrates are polyhydroxy aldehydes or ketones or compounds which yield them upon hydrolysis

EMPIRICAL FORMULA:

The empirical formula for carbohydrates is Cm(H2O)n.

BACKGROUND:

  • The term carbohydrates literally mean “hydrates of carbon”.
  • This name was assigned because, in most of the carbohydrates, the ratio of hydrogen and oxygen is the same as water (2:1).
  • However, there are several non-carbohydrate compounds that appear to be hydrates of carbon i.e. Acetic Acid (C2H4O2).
  • Further, some carbohydrates do not satisfy the empirical formula such as rhamnohexose (C6H12H5).
  • Therefore, carbohydrates cannot always be regarded as hydrates of carbon.

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