What are polysaccharides made of?


Quick Answer

Polysaccharides feature glycolic bonds linking together long chains of monosaccharides. The composition of each polysaccharide varies, but they are usually complete carbohydrates.

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Full Answer

Polysaccharides feature multiple long chains of monosaccharides, which are almost exclusively made from glucose. How each polysaccharide varies depends on its structure. Monosaccharides are joined together using glycosidic bonds, and differences can arise depending on the type of sugar they make, as well as how the bonds are structured.

The three main forms of polysaccharides are cellulose, starch and glycogen, and together they make the group glycans. In cellulose, the monosaccharide chains are linked together as one long formation. As the cellulose model is straight, they can rest next to each other in multiple rows.

In contrast, the starch polysaccharide is not straight, as there are multiple branches leaving it. These are caused by glycosidic links between carbon atom one and carbon atom six on the next sugar, as well as alpha-glycosidic links between carbon atom one and carbon atoms six throughout the sugar. When placed in water, starch releases amylose and amylopectin.

Glucose molecules linking together form glycogen. After every 10 glucose units, carbon atoms one and six join together between different molecules. This makes it similar to starch in structure, and its functions are similar too, as its primary role is to help plants and animals release energy.

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