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Carbohydrates are important biological macromolecules that consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a 1:2:1 ratio. Carbohydrates are organic compounds organized in the form of aldehydes or ketones with multiple hydroxyl groups coming off the carbon chain. Carbohydrates are the most abundant organic compounds in living organisms. Their major function in living systems is the storage and transport of energy. They can also have structural, informational, recognition, and protective functions. Monosaccharides, the simplest carbohydrate units, are commonly known as æsimple sugars. Chains of more than one sugar are called oligosaccharides.
Carbohydrate derivatives are sugar molecules that have been modified with substituents other than hydroxyl groups. Examples include glycosylamines, sugar phosphates, and sugar acetates. Most sugar derivatives occur naturally and have important biological functions. For instance, chondroitin sulfate is an important structural component of cartilage and provides much of its resistance to compression. Alfa Aesar offers a large range of carbohydrates and carbohydrate derivatives.