Introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology (BIOL121) - Dr. S.G. Saupe (; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321

Study Guide for Carbohydrates

Goal:  The goal of this unit is to provide an overview of the chemistry and biological importance of the carbohydrates.

Learning Objectives:  Upon completion of this unit the student should be able to:

  1. describe the structure and functions of a carbohydrate

  2. describe the mechanisms by which monosaccharides are linked to make polysaccharides

  3. describe the three major types of isomers

  4. describe the structure and function of the major polysaccharides (starch, cellulose, glycogen, etc).

Terms/ConceptsCan you use these in a sentence?  Or, prepare a concept map with them?

  • simple sugar

  • complex sugar

  • polysaccharide

  • monosaccharide

  • carbohydrate

  • isomer � structural

  • isomer � geometric

  • isomer � optical

  • asymmetric carbon atom

  • disaccharides

  • alpha glucan

  • b glucan

  • glycoprotein

  • cell (or plasma) membrane


  1. Compare and contrast hydroxyl and carbonyl function groups

  2. Carbohydrates are technically defined as �polyhydroxy aldehydes and ketones.�  Explain this definition in �lay� terms.

  3. Describe the two forms in which monosaccharides can exist

  4. Compare and contrast and alpha and beta hydroxyl

  5. Explain the difference between cis and trans double bonds

  6. Can you recognize an asymmetric carbon atom in a molecule?

  7. Describe the reaction by which carbohydrates are linked together.

  8. Compare and contrast sucrose, starch, glycogen, cellulose, chitin and peptidoglycan.  What is the function of each?

  9. Describe the functions of carbohydrates in a cell/organism?

  10. What is a glycosidic linkage?

  11. Can you recognize the structure of a carbohydrate?

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Last updated: July 14, 2009     � Copyright by SG Saupe