Monosaccharides are a group of simple carbohydrates that are essentially a simple form of sugars.

They can not be broken down into smaller carbohydrates.

They are part of a group of other carbohydrates including:

Monosaccharides are building blocks of large carbohydrates

There are several different types some found in nature and others are synthesized

Chemically they have aldehyde or ketone groups and typically a hydroxyl group (-OH) and a cabonyl group (C=O) added on.

When the sugar has a Aldehyde it is called Aldose
When the sugar has a Ketone it is called Ketose

Can be divided depending on number of carbons:

  • Triose –  3 carbon atoms
  • Tetrose  –  4 carbon atoms
  • Pentose  –  5 carbon atoms
  • Hexose  – 6 carbon atoms
  • Heptose – 7 carbon atoms
  • Octose – 8 carbon atoms
  • Nonose  – 9 carbon atoms
  • Decose  – 10 carbon atoms


Types of Monosaccharides


1.)  Aldotriose: D-Glyceraldehyde
2.)  Aldotetroses:  D-Erythrose, D-Threose
3.)  Aldopentoses: D-Ribose, D-Arabinose, D-Xylose, D-Lyxose
4.)  Aldohexoses:  D-Allose, D-Altrose, D-Glucose, D-Mannose, D-Gulose, D-Idose, D-Galactose, and T-Talose


1.)  Ketotriose:  Dihydroxyacetone
2.)  Ketotetrose:  D-Erythrulose
3.)  Ketopentoses:  D-Ribulose, D-Xylulose
4.)  Ketohexoses:  D-Psicose, D-Fructose, D-Sorbose, D-Tegatose

Some of the more common monosaccharides include:

  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Galactose
  • Ribose

Some common found uses of monosaccharides include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Sorbitol
  • Other sweetening agents
  • Amino sugars
  • others
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