Carbohydrates are organic compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They serve a source of energy for animals and humans, and play many important roles in biology, such as covering cell surfaces, mediating cell-to-cell recognition, and forming bioactive molecules. Based upon the number of structural units, carbohydrates are divided into three large structural classes, monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides.
Monosaccharides are simplest carbohydrates, typically containing 3-6 carbon atoms, such as glucose, fructose, and galactose. Oligosaccharides contain about 3–10 monosaccharides, such as lactose, raffinose, and stachyose. Some other natural oligosaccharides occur as components of glycoproteins or glycolipids. Oligosaccharides are hydrolyzed to yield identical monosaccharides, or two or more different monosaccharides. Polysaccharides are long chains of monosaccharides bound by glycosidic bonds. Those with only one type of monosaccharide subunit are called homopolysaccharides, such as starch and cellulose made by plants, while those containing more than one type of monosaccharide are called heteropolysaccharides.
Polysaccharides and oligosaccharides are also known as glycans. The various ways in which glycans are assembled give them a great variety of structures and widely varying properties. The biological functions of glycans mainly include the interactions with other molecules (such as proteins and lipids) on the cell surface that mediate differentiation, recognition, and proliferation of cells, and interactions with other glycans that generate the mechanical structural and modulatory properties of plant and microbial cell walls.
Amerigo Scientific offers an extensive and comprehensive range of carbohydrate products to scientists in the life science and chemistry research fields, including monosaccharide building blocks, functionalized sugars (including fluoro, azido, amino and lactone derivatives), glucuronides, oligosaccharide reference compounds (both natural and synthetic), and polysaccharides. We also offer glycan analysis products for the research of glycobiology, chemo-enzymatic glycosylation, glycan assembly and protein glycosylation modification.