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What is the function of monosaccharides?

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Quick Answer

Monosaccharides are simple sugars that are used primarily as a form of energy for the organisms that consume them. Glucose, which is present in many different types of foods around the world, is the most common type of monosaccharide and is used as an energy source for many animals, including humans. They can be obtained naturally or through a biological process known as hydrolysis performed on either glycosides or polysaccharides.

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Full Answer

Monosaccharides are the simplest carbohydrate form. They are also known as simple sugars and often are composed of a string of carbon and water. Glucose is the most abundant monosaccharide, but there are other common simple sugars as well, including fructose and galactose, according to Dictionary.com. The difference between these types of monosaccharides is the arrangement of the specific atoms in their molecular formula.

Organisms can store these simple sugars after eating them to be used for energy later. When in the presence of oxygen, glucose and the rest of the monosaccharides can be broken down into their constituent parts. This releases energy, which is why monosaccharides are used primarily as a source of energy. Cells can harness this energy to do work. Additionally, monosaccharides can be used to build more complex carbohydrate forms like polysaccharides.

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