Polysaccharide Definition

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A polysaccharide is a molecule with a general formula of (CH2O). These molecules are made up of one to four carbons. Some are monosaccharides, while others are polysaccharides. A monosaccharide is a glucose-based sugar. It is a cyclic compound that has many different functions in nature. Some are energy storage molecules, while others are cellular messengers.

Most polysaccharides have useful visco-elastic properties. During hydrolysis, a polysaccharide is transformed into a monosaccharide. This transformation can be extremely useful in biomedical and pharmaceutical applications. The term "polysaccharide" is used to describe any substance that is made from a chain of sugar molecules. In addition to food, there are applications in pharmaceuticals, photo-emulsions, and even tertiary oil recovery.

Polysaccharides can be categorized by their source. These include plant and animal sugars, reserve sugars, gums and mucilages, algal and bacterial polysaccharides, and more. Listed below are the major types of polysaccharides. This list is not exhaustive. There are thousands of types of polysaccharides, but here are some of the most common.

The main distinction between simple and complex carbohydrates is the amount of complex sugars. While the former are quickly broken down by the digestive system, the latter require more time to break down. They can also be fibrous or contain more than one type of sugar. A simple carbohydrate is glucose. A complex carbohydrate is chitin, glycogen, or cellulose. All of these compounds have the same basic formula - Cx (H2O) y.

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