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A ketohexose monosaccharide, (3S,4R,5S)-1,3,4,5,6-Pentahydroxyhexan-2-one, with a chemical formula of C6H12O6, and the laevorotatory configuaration (L-sorbose) is used as an intermediate in the synthesis of vitamin C


Monosaccharides are the simplest form of carbohydrates. They may be classified based on the number of constituent carbon atoms. For instance, hexose is a monosaccharide with six carbon atoms. They may also be classified based on the functional group present: aldose and ketose. Sorbose is one of the hexose monosaccharides and classified as a ketose.

Sorbose is a ketohexose with a chemical formula of C6H12O6. It has sweetness similar to sucrose. L-sorbose is the naturally-occurring type of sorbose.1 It has been found at trace levels in certain plants and fruits such as cocoa beans. The bacterium Acetobacter xylinum produces sorbose as a secondary product through the oxidation of sorbitol. It may also be formed by the oxidation of D-galactose.

Sorbose is a ketose used commercially in the synthesis of vitamin C (ascorbic acid).

IUPAC name:

  • (3S,4R,5S)-1,3,4,5,6-Pentahydroxyhexan-2-one

Chemical formula:

  • C6H12O6

Also called:

  • sorbinose
  • L-xylo-Hexulose

See also:

1 Sorbose. (n.d.). Retrieved from
2 Sorbose. (n.d.). National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from