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Glycosidic Bonds and Nonreducing Sugars
A single individual sugar molecule is known as a monomer or monosaccharide. Two monosaccharides can combine together through a bond known as the glycosidic bond or glycosidic linkage to form the disaccharide. Some common examples of disaccharides include sucrose, lactose and maltose. Simple sugar molecules can also combine to form long chain of sugars and such carbohydrates are known as polymers or polysaccharides. Several examples of polymers of sugar are glycogen, starch and cellulose. Different combinations of sugars can combine in different ways to create different types of glycosidic linkages. For instance, lactose is a combination of D-galactose and D-glucose. These two sugars combine via a beta 1,4-glycodisic linkage. The sucrose disaccharide is a combination between glucose and fructose. These two sugars combine via a bond called the alpha 1,2-glycosidic bond. Reducing sugars are those sugars that have a hemiacetal group that can transform into an aldehyde group, which can then be oxidized under proper conditions (bromine in water). Therefore, reducing sugars act as reducing agents. Nonreducing sugars however do not have a hemiacetal group (an acetal instead) and therefore cannot be oxidized. Thus non-reducing sugars cannot act as reducing agents.
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