What Elements Are in Sugar?


Quick Answer

Sugar is composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. There are 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms and 11 oxygen atoms in one molecule of sugar, according to Exploratorium, a San Francisco museum of science, art and human perception. The scientific name for sugar is sucrose.

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What Elements Are in Sugar?
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Full Answer

Sugar is a disaccharide, states The Encyclopaedia Britannica. Sucrose results from the combination of fructose and glucose. Sucrose can be broken down into these molecules with the addition of an acid.

Sucrose results from a condensation reaction between one molecule of fructose and one molecule of glucose, Brittanica describes. During condensation, a molecule of water is lost during the reaction.

Science of Cooking states that sucrose has a hydrogen to oxygen ratio of 2:1, as do other carbohydrates. The fructose and glucose molecules are joined with a glycosidic bond on the first carbon atom of glucose and the second carbon atom of fructose. Sucrose is a nonreducing sugar because it doesn't have an anomeric carbon atom. Sucrose can be broken down by hydrolysis, and it melts at 186 degrees Celsius, 366.8 degrees F.

Sugar is sourced from sugar beets and sugarcane. One sucrose molecule from either plant provides 3.94 calories per molecule, according to Brittanica.

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