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a compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, the latter two usually in the proportions of water (CH2O)n. They are classified into mono-, di-, tri-, poly-, and heterosaccharides. Carbohydrates in food are an important and immediate source of energy for the body; 1 g of carbohydrate yields 4 calories. They are present, at least in small quantities, in most foods, but the chief sources are the sugars and starches. Food substances that are almost pure sugar include granulated sugar, maple sugar, honey, and molasses. The monosaccharides (simple sugars) include glucose and fructose. galactose, another simple sugar, is produced by the digestion or hydrolysis of lactose. The disaccharides (double sugars) include sucrose (white sugar, found in sugar cane or sugar beets), maltose, and lactose. All ripe fruits and many vegetables contain natural sugars. The starches are present in such foods as rice, wheat, and potatoes. Carbohydrates may be stored in the body as glycogen for future use. If they are eaten in excessive amounts, however, the body changes them into fats and stores them in that form.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Any of a group of organic compounds, including sugars, starches, celluloses, and gums, that contain only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen and that originate chiefly as products of photosynthesis. Carbohydrates serve as a major energy source for living things.
2. A food, such as bread, rice, or potatoes, that is composed largely of these substances.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Aldehyde or ketone derivatives of a polyhydric—especially pentahydric and hexahydric—alcohol. The name derives from ratio of hydrogen and oxygen-Cn(H2O)n; the major carbohydrates are starches, sugars, celluloses and gums, which are classified into monosaccharides (e.g., glucose), disaccharides (e.g., sucrose), trisaccharides (e.g., raffinose) and polysaccharides (e.g., starch, cellulose and glycogen).

An abundant organic compound, it is one of the three main classes of foods and a principal source of energy. Ingested carbohydrates are sugars and starches, which are metabolised into glucose or assembled into glycogen and stored in the liver and muscle for future use.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Nutrition An abundant organic compound, which is one of the 3 main classes of foods and a principal source of energy; ingested carbohydrates are sugars and starches, which are metabolized into glucose, or assembled into glycogen, and stored in the liver and muscle for future use. See Complex. Cf Fats, Protein.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Organic compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; sugars are simple carbohydrates, starches are complex carbohydrates.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012
Carbohydrateclick for a larger image
Fig. 89 Carbohydrate . The types of carbohydrate.


a family of organic molecules (hydrates of carbon) with the general formula (CH2 O)x, ranging from simple sugars such as glucose and fructose to complex molecules such as starch and cellulose. All complex carbohydrates are built up from simple units called MONOSACCHARIDES which cannot be hydrolysed to a simpler structure.

The types of carbohydrate are described in detail under their own heading, but are summarized in Fig. 89.

Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005

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References in periodicals archive ?
Based on abundant fragment ions generated by losing sugar chains, side chains and dehydration steroidal saponins were divided into types I to V according to the numbers of hydroxyl group and double bond in the A, B, C, and D rings [23,24,27,30].
Fluorescence microscopic observation of dyed SC and OSE on GF/C filter papers confirmed the binding of WGA to a sugar chain compound (Fig.
We believe that this arrangement or network of hydrogen bonds guides the sugar chain into an ideal position for enzymatic processing; therefore, in our understanding, these residues should not be targeted in mutagenesis studies.
In addition, the structure-activity relationships' analysis revealed that the carboxyl group of glucuronic acid at C-3 sugar chain determines the cytotoxic activity, which could provide clues for the synthesis of oleanolic-type triterpenoid saponin derivatives.
AIST belives the technique can be applied widely not only to refined products, such as sugar chains, glyco-peptides and antibodies, but also to clinical specimens, such as blood, and thereby the application of glyco-protein engineering to medical technologies can be further accelerated.
Each glycoprotein molecule sports sugar chains that jut out as bristles on a bottlebrush do.
Aberrant sugar chains may also alter the global structure of glycoproteins, particularly the peptide moiety.
(2003) Conversion of pyridylamino sugar chains to corresponding reducing sugar chains.
The AIST Research Center for Glycoscience first cloned a glycogene (a gene of sugar chain) from human genome information.
With more than one long sugar chain, the force readings smear, says Gaub.
Normal dystroglycan is modified with a unique sugar chain that allows the protein to "glue" muscle membranes to the basal lamina -- a tough layer of extracellular proteins.
Not every sugar chain on every cell gets changed, he says, but as long as enough are clipped, the body accepts the cells.