Carbohydrates

ID #2100

When we were discussing the polysaccharide cellulose, we said that it was rotated 180 degrees (or turned upside down) in order to fit 3 dimensionally. How are we suppose to know if a molecule has been turned upside down, or whether that is its normal configuration?


Because we have an "understanding" in the scientific community that we're all going to draw certain molecules in standard, conventional ways, if you see a molecule drawn against that convention, it is probably done for a reason. And usually, that reason is to give an indication of the 3-dimensional positioning of a molecule drawn in 2-dimensional space. If I showed you a brand new molecule that isn't based on anything you've seen before, you certainly wouldn't be able to tell if it had been drawn "correctly," but any figures I show you on the exam, for example, will be similar to or based on molecules you should be familiar with. So if you know the conventions, you'll be able to easily interpret what is different about the way the molecule is represented.

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