Monosaccharides also called simple sugars, are the most basic units of carbohydrates. They are fundamental units of carbohydrates and cannot be further hydrolised to simpler compounds. The general formula is C nH2nOn.They are the simplest form of sugar and are usually colorless, water-soluble, and crystalline solids. Some monosaccharides have a sweet taste.

Monosaccharides are the simplest carbohydrates and are often called single sugars. They are the building blocks from which all bigger carbohydrates are made.

Monosaccharides have the general molecular formula (CH2O)n, where n can be 3, 5 or 6. They can be classified according to the number of carbon atoms in a molecule:

N = 3 --->trioses

N = 5 --->pentoses

N= 6 --->hexoses

There is more than one molecule with the molecular formula C5H10O5 and more than one with the molecular formula C6H12O6. Molecules that have the same molecular formula but different structural formulae are called structural isomers.

Structure and nomenclature

Monosaccharides have this chemical formula: Cx(H2O)y, where conventionally x ≥ 3. Monosaccharides can be classified by the number xof carbon atoms they contain: diose (2) triose (3) tetrose (4), pentose (5), hexose (6), heptose (7), and so on.

The most important monosaccharide, glucose, is a hexose. Examples of heptoses include the ketoses mannoheptulose and sedoheptulose. Monosaccharides with eight or more carbons are rarely observed as they are quite unstable.