Carbohydrates

ID #2374

I know glycerol is very important and is directly related to glyceraldehyde, but how? Glyceraldehyde and glycerol are both 3-carbon monosacharrides, right? So how does glycerol make up glyceraldehyde, or is it something else?


Glyceraldehyde is a three carbon aldose sugar, and the structure is in the the Lecture 3 notes. The structure of glycerol is very similar to that of glyceraldehyde except in place of an aldehyde at the C1 carbon glycerol has a hydroxyl group (so it has hydroxyl groups on each of its three carbons). Glyceraldehyde can be converted into glycerol (and vice versa) in metabolic pathways that you won't need to worry about in this class. Glycerol is not considered a monosaccharide (monosaccharides typically contain an aldehyde or ketone group which glycerol lacks). Both glycerol and glyceraldehyde will come up in future lectures- glycerol is a major component of lipids and a phosphorylated form of glyceraldehyde is used to make energy from the degradation of glucose (which you will learn more about in Exam II material). 

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