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2.7. General functions of glucides

Carbohydrate functions

The glucides, along with lipidsprotides, and nucleic acids, are one of the organic own immediate early living beings. In plants they are formed directly in photosynthesis, and it is the main organic component of these, much more abundant than in animals.

The main functions are two:

  • Reserve energetic function. The glucose is the most important carbohydrate because it is the main source of energy used by living things. The starch in plants, the glycogen in animals, etc., are ways to store thousands of glucoses.
  • Structural functionIt highlights the importance of the β bond, which prevents the degradation of these molecules and makes some organisms can remain hundreds of years, in the case of trees, maintaining structures up to 100 meters high. Among the carbohydrates with structural function we can mention: cellulose in plants, chitin in the cell wall of fungi and exoskele of arthropodsribose and deoxyribose in the nucleic acids of all living beings, peptidoglycans in the wall cell bacteriachondroitinin bones and cartilage, etc.

In addition, some carbohydrates have other specific functions, such as antibiotic (streptomycin), vitamin (vitamin C), anticoagulant (heparin), hormonal (gonadotropic hormones), enzymatic (together with proteins they form ribonucleases) and immunological (membrane glycoproteins constitute antigens and, on the other hand, immunoglobulins or antibodies are partly made up of carbohydrates). Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate is essential in the Calvin cycle, fixing COin photosynthesis. Some carbohydrates bind to lipids or proteins of the cell membrane to form glycolipids and glycoproteins with signaling function, to be able to recognize hormones, antibodies, etc.


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