Carbohydrates are one of the major classes of biomolecules. They are classified into monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. The simplest form of carbohydrates is a monosaccharide. Combining two monosaccharides by a glycosidic linkage forms a disaccharide. Sucrose is one of the most common types of disaccharides; others are lactose and maltose.
Sucrose is a non-reducing type of disaccharide. It is comprised of the monosaccharides: glucose and fructose. These two monosaccharides combine through condensation reaction. They are linked through a glycosidic linkage between C-1 (on the glycosyl subunit) and C-2 (on the fructosyl unit). Similar to lactose and maltose, the sucrose molecule has a general formula of C12H22O11.
Sucrose is digested or broken down into its monosaccharide units through hydrolysis with the help of the enzyme, sucrase. The bond that joins the two monosaccharides is broken, converting sucrose to glucose and fructose.
Sucrose is extracted from plants, e.g. sugar cane and sugar beet, and processed (refined) to be marketed as common table sugar. It is used as a sweetening agent in food and beverages.
Word origin: Latin saccharum + -ose