Monosaccharide vs. Disaccharide

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Monosaccharide and Disaccharide is that the Monosaccharide is a simple sugars such as glucose and fructose and Disaccharide is a complex sugars, the sugar formed when two monosaccharides (simple sugars) are joined by glycosidic linkage; soluble in water; one of the four chemical groupings of carbohydrates.

  • Monosaccharide

    Monosaccharides (from Greek monos: single, sacchar: sugar), also called simple sugars, are the most basic units of carbohydrates. They are fundamental units of carbohydrates and cannot be further hydrolyzed to simpler compounds. The general formula is CnH2nOn. They are the simplest form of sugar and are usually colorless, water-soluble, and crystalline solids. Some monosaccharides have a sweet taste. Examples of monosaccharides include glucose (dextrose), fructose (levulose) and galactose. Monosaccharides are the building blocks of disaccharides (such as sucrose and lactose) and polysaccharides (such as cellulose and starch). Further, each carbon atom that supports a hydroxyl group (so, all of the carbons except for the primary and terminal carbon) is chiral, giving rise to a number of isomeric forms, all with the same chemical formula. For instance, galactose and glucose are both aldohexoses, but have different physical structures and chemical properties.

  • Disaccharide

    A disaccharide (also called a double sugar or biose) is the sugar formed when two monosaccharides (simple sugars) are joined by glycosidic linkage. Like monosaccharides, disaccharides are soluble in water. Three common examples are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.

    Disaccharides are one of the four chemical groupings of carbohydrates (monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides). The most common types of disaccharides—sucrose, lactose, and maltose—have twelve carbon atoms, with the general formula C12H22O11. The differences in these disaccharides are due to atomic arrangements within the molecule.

    The joining of simple sugars into a double sugar happens by a condensation reaction, which involves the elimination of a water molecule from the functional groups only. Breaking apart a double sugar into its two simple sugars is accomplished by hydrolysis with the help of a type of enzyme called a disaccharidase. As building the larger sugar ejects a water molecule, breaking it down consumes a water molecule. These reactions are vital in metabolism. Each disaccharide is broken down with the help of a corresponding disaccharidase (sucrase, lactase, and maltase).

  • Monosaccharide (noun)

    A simple sugar such as glucose, fructose or deoxyribose that has a single ring.

  • Disaccharide (noun)

    Any sugar, such as sucrose, maltose and lactose, consisting of two monosaccharides combined together.


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