Monosaccharide: Definition, Structure, and Examples

  • Reading time:6 mins read

Monosaccharide Introduction

We all know that our composed is composed of many of the organic compounds, which makes our cells to function efficiently by restoring the energy and its components that synthesis energy rich molecules. One such compounds are monosaccharides which is one of the compounds of the carbohydrate or it may also be referred to sugar A simple sugar which contains the building blocks of a complex forms of the sugar like oligosaccharides and the polysaccharides.

Sugar molecules play an important role in every organism as they help in formation of a glucose which then reduces and undergoes various process to form a molecule of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which are known are considered as the basic energy supplements of our body. However, the term monosaccharide refers to the one saccharide. A saccharide is one of the structures of the carbohydrate. Hence, monosaccharide refers to the carbohydrate that has only one unit of saccharide.


Generally, the term sugar refers to both the monosaccharides and the disaccharides. Monosaccharides are thus a simple molecule of sugar as they are considered as one of the significant kinds of sugar. Which does not mean the table sugar or granular sugar, those which are considered as the sucrose’s. Because sucrose’s are the disaccharide molecules, that is it is made up of two monosaccharides named glucose and fructose, which are all come under the group of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are one of the organic compounds that are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in the ratio of 1:2:1. These are considered ad one of the major biomolecular compounds, which are the important sources of the energy which also in turn serve as the structural components.

Monosaccharide Features

One of the most fundamental and the common type of sugars known as monosaccharides, which means that they cannot be separated or broken down into any other simpler compounds rather than hydrolysis. Where as monosaccharides has the capability of combining with the other complex types of molecules.

Monosaccharides are usually joined together with the help of a glycosidic bond, which are also known as glycosidic linkages. These glycosidic bonds are considered as the covalent bonds. Thus, the combination of the two simple sugars then refers to as disaccharide, Other molecules which consisting of about three to ten molecules of sugar are called as oligosaccharides.

Apart from them the molecules consisting of about large number of monosaccharide units are referred to as polysaccharides. Where as the chemical process which is involved in combing the molecules of the monosaccharides are known as dehydration synthesis as it results in releasing the water as its by-product. Though this process is irreversible, the complex carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars, like glycogenolysis where the glycogen is being broken down into the units of glucose which is used further in the energy metabolism processes.

Monosaccharides are usually a colourless and a crystalline substance which are sweet in taste and a solid component. These substances are easily soluble in water. Now a days it occurs in the form of liquid sugars or syrups. However, like other carbohydrates, monosaccharides are also considered as one of the organic compounds and contains carbon which is covalently bonded with the other atoms like hydrogen and oxygen.

Role of Monosaccharide

Monosaccharides play a very important role in performing various kinds of functions. One of the important functions is that it serves as a structural and the multifunctional biological unit. With the help of the glycosidic bonds, they join together and form a complex oligosaccharides and other polymers namely cellular, starch and glycogen. It also serves as a precursor for many other compounds and its formations like galactosamine, glucosamine, sulfoquinovose, mannitol, glucuronic acid and so on.

Monosaccharides are similar to those of other carbohydrate molecules which plays an important role in supplying the nutrition. Monosaccharides are also found in natural sources like fruits, vegetables and other dietary nutritional supplements. Where these are consumed for the purpose of deriving energy in the form of ATP which acts as the biofuel and other sources of minerals. Glucose is one of the most common form of monosaccharide which helps us to synthesize ATP through the levels of phosphorylation reactions.

Classification of Monosaccharide

According to the biochemistry monosaccharides are classified into three types as follows,

 Depending on the placement of the carbonyl group.

 Number of carbon atoms it contains.

 Depending upon its chiral handedness.

Monosaccharide and Metabolic Pathways

Monosaccharides play an important role in many of the metabolic pathways in our body and they are listed below.

Glycolysis: Here the monosaccharide is converted into pyruvate which release a high amount of energy biomolecules.

Pentose Phosphate Pathway: It is one of the alternative pathways for breaking the glucose molecules.

Glyconeogenesis: Here the non-carbohydrate precursors will be converted into monosaccharides.

Glycogenolysis: Here the glycogen is converted into monosaccharide units.

Glycogenesis: Here the glycose is being converted into glycogen.

Monosaccharide Citations


Similar Post:

Leave a Reply