Glucan vs. Glycan

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Glucan and Glycan is that the Glucan is a class of chemical compounds and Glycan is a a class of chemical compounds

  • Glucan

    A glucan is a polysaccharide derived from D-glucose, linked by glycosidic bonds. Many beta-glucans are medically important. They represent a drug target for antifungal medications of the echinocandin class.

  • Glycan

    Not to be confused with glucan.The terms glycan and polysaccharide are defined by IUPAC as synonyms meaning “compounds consisting of a large number of monosaccharides linked glycosidically”. However, in practice the term glycan may also be used to refer to the carbohydrate portion of a glycoconjugate, such as a glycoprotein, glycolipid, or a proteoglycan, even if the carbohydrate is only an oligosaccharide. Glycans usually consist solely of O-glycosidic linkages of monosaccharides. For example, cellulose is a glycan (or, to be more specific, a glucan) composed of β-1,4-linked D-glucose, and chitin is a glycan composed of β-1,4-linked N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. Glycans can be homo- or heteropolymers of monosaccharide residues, and can be linear or branched.

  • Glucan (noun)

    Any polysaccharide that is a polymer of glucose

  • Glycan (noun)

    Any polysaccharide or oligosaccharide, especially one that is part of a glycoprotein or glycolipid.


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