Q: What kind of bears dissolve in water?

A: Polar bears.


Discovering carbohydrates!

Carbohydrates are organic compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The proportion between the hydrogen and oxygen in this is the same as it is in water. Plants produce carbohydrates by the process of photosynthesis.

The importance of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an important part of our daily lives. They are present in most of the food that we eat in the form of starch and sugars. And that’s not all! Carbohydrates are also part of the clothes you wear. A carbohydrate called cellulose is part of cotton and linen. What’s more this cellulose is also present in the wood that we use to build houses. So carbohydrates are also responsible for the roofs over our heads!

Carbohydrates can be classified into monosaccharides (the simplest form of carbohydrates), disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides (which are long chains of monosaccharides).

Classification of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can be classified into monosaccharides (the simplest form of carbohydrates), disaccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides (which are long chains of monosaccharides).

Types of carbohydrates

Sugars

Did you know that most of the sugar that you eat comes from sugar cane or sugar beets? Sugar is what makes everything so sweet and delightful. Chemically the sugar that you eat is called sucrose. Juice is obtained by crushing sugar cane. This is then filtered and cleaned and the final juice is evaporated to give you the pure white sugar crystals that you mix with your favourite drink.

Starches

You are likely to have come across starch in your daily life. Your dhobi probably uses it to give your collars that nice stiff feeling. Did you know that most plant parts have starch. Starch has large molecules. Just one molecule of starch can weigh 6000 times more than a molecule of glucose. When you treat starch with acid, the polysaccharide (many sugar) starch turns into monosaccharide (single sugar) glucose. 

Cellulose

Cellulose is part of most natural fibres. It is an important building block for plants being part of leaves, stalks and even the cell walls. Did you know that the cotton which is used in your shirts is made from 95% of cellulose?

Carbohydrates in food

If you are health conscious you will probably know that carbohydrates are part of our diet as well. Food items such as bread, pasta, beans, potato, bran, rice and cereals are high in carbohydrates. These are foods high in starch.

 

Tags :     Everyday Chemistry     sugars     Carbohydrates     Starches     Cellulose    


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