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noun, plural: monosaccharides

(biochemistry) A simple sugar that constitutes the building blocks of a more complex form of sugars such as oligosaccharides and polysaccharides; examples are fructose, glucose, and ribose


Carbohydrates are organic compounds comprised of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, usually in the ratio of 1:2:1. They are one of the major classes of biomolecules. They are an important source of energy. They also serve as structural components. They are classified into monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. The most fundamental type is the simple sugars called monosaccharides, and therefore, it cannot be broken down to simpler sugars by hydrolysis.

A monosaccharide has a chemical formula of (CH2O)n+m, and with the chemical structure H(CHOH)nC=O(CHOH)mH. These simple sugars can combine with each other to form more complex types. The combination of two simple sugars is called disaccharide whereas carbohydrates consisting of two to ten simple sugars are called oligosaccharides, and those with a larger number are called polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides classified by the number of carbon atoms they contain are as follows:

Monosaccharides may also be classified based on the type of carbonyl group they contain:

Word origin: from Greek, monos: single + sacchar: sugar.


  • monosaccharose
  • simple sugar


See also: