Structure And Function Of Carbohydrates

512 words - 3 pages

DESCRIBE AND EXPLAIN THE STRUCTURE AND FUCTION OF CARBOHYDRATESCarbohydrates are part of what we call macronutrients. In our body, as well as proteins and fats, macronutrients are needed in large amounts. Carbohydrates can be monosaccharides (sugars), disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides (starch). Carbohydrates have the general formula of Cx(H2O)y- they only contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen- making them organic compounds.Sugar is a monosaccharide and is very sweet; it is made of alpha glucose monomers. If two of these were to polymerise in a condensation reaction, it would result in a disaccharide. The disaccharide formed would be maltose as it's made from an alpha glucose plus an alpha glucose. ...view middle of the document...

Cellulose is based on a rigid, layed structure with many hydrogen cross-linkages between adjacent chains of molecules. Many of these hydrogen bonds collectively provide cellulose with mechanical strength suited to its function. Examples of disaccharides include sucrose, maltose and lactose. They are made from monomer monosaccharides such as glucose, fructose, and galactose.Starch is a storage molecule and it can store large amounts of energy. Starch is also insoluble so it doesn't affect osmotic concentrations and turgidity and is therefore stored freely in parts of the plant. Starch is very compact and so large amounts of it can be stored for future use, making its structure complimentary for its function. Amylopectin has a lot of branching, due to some 1,6 - glycosidic bonds that occur, and therefore has many end points for enzymes to hydrolyse. This means that the starch can be quickly broken down and transported through the phloem of the plant efficiently.Cellulose is required in the cell walls of plant cells; it is rigid and prevents individual cells from bursting. The plant as a whole is mechanically supported as a result of cellulose too.Glycogen is ''animal starch'' and is an energy store in humans in the liver and muscle cells. They, like amylopectin, have a lot of branching due to the 1,6 - glycosidic bonds and thus have many end points. Enzymes can quickly hydrolyse the glycogen and the glucose is transported via the blood to the necessary cells and tissues in order to supplement the metabolic demand for energy. Glucose is required for respiration to occur in the mitochondria and for energy to be released.


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