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Sugars, Steroids, Amino Acids, and Nucleotides

Sugars or saccharides are the most abundant bio-molecule on the planet. Sugars are carbohydrates such as monosaccharides, disaccharides or oligosaccharides composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Sugar is a major component in our diet. They form the cell wall of plants and bacteria and are involved in cell recognition. Other applications of sugar include its utilization as a chemical feedstock for bulk, intermediate, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, or high-value-added speciality chemicals.

Steroids are a group of cyclical organic compounds which have a distinct arrangement of seventeen carbon atoms in a four ring structure linked together from three 6-carbon rings followed by a 5-carbon ring and a side chain comprising eight carbons. Many steroids are necessary for life processes, these include cholesterol, sex hormones, and bile acids. Anabolic steroids are used after a serious injury. Corticosteroids are used to treat pain conditions and autoimmunity. Some of the corticosteroids are often used after laser-based refractive surgery, and for the treatment of the palpebral and bulbar conjunctiva, the cornea, and the anterior segment of the eye.

Amino acids are the most biologically important organic compounds that contain amine and carboxylic acid functional groups. As proteins, amino acids encompass the second largest constituent of human muscles, cells and other tissues. Amino acids play a significant role in processes such as neurotransmitter transport and biosynthesis. Amino acids are biologically significant. They are important in nutrition, fertilizers and food technology as a flavor enhancer and artificial sweetener. Other industrial uses include the production of drugs, cosmetics, biodegradable plastics, chiral catalysts and use as additives to animal feed.

Nucleotides are organic molecules that are the building blocks of nucleic acids. They consist of three parts – a nitrogenous base; a five carbon sugar (ribose or deoxyribose) and at least one phosphate group. Nucleotides serve a unique role in metabolism. Additionally, nucleotides participate in cell signaling (cGMP and cAMP) and are incorporated into important cofactors of enzymatic reactions (coenzyme A, NAD and NADP+). Nucleotides have therapeutic use in respiratory and ophthalmic disease. In the area of molecular biology nucleotides are used in applications such as PCR, cDNA synthesis, real-time PCR and sequencing.


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