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Monosaccharides are simple carbohydrates with multiple alcohol groups with or without ketone or aldehyde groups. The number of carbon atoms varies:

  • 3 - trioses
  • 5 - pentoses
  • 6 - hexoses

Each monosaccharide may exist in stereoisomeric forms according to the sequence of side groups around a particular carbon atom. A given stereoisomer may be the unique substrate for a given enzyme.

They are all members of the sugar group.


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