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Special points of emphasis

Reactions of Alcohols and Ethers

Reactions of Aldehydes and Ketones

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are aldehydes or ketones with multiple hydroxyl groups. The composition of C, H, and O in a carbohydrate is in the ratio (CH2O) which is the source of the name (hydrate of carbon). The importance of aldehyde/ketone chemistry for understanding carbohydrates is obvious. For example, the reaction through which a straight chain sugar assumes the ring form is hemi-acetal formation.



Stereochemistry

Carbohydrates

Biochemists generally do not employ the Cahn-Ingold-Prelog system to represent carbohydrate stereochemistry, relying instead on Fischer projection formulas and the D,L system of notation, which relates the stereochemistry of carbohydrate carbons to the configuration of (+)-glyceraldehyde. Although the D,L system finds its way onto almost every MCAT, but not in terms of direct application. You probably would never need to relate a form to (+)-glyceraldehyde on the MCAT and assign the nomenclature yourself. When the D,L system is on the MCAT, it is almost always serving as a comprehension stumbling block. If you understand the basics, you won't have a problem. Of the hexoses (glucose, galactose, fructose, etc.), only the D isomers are naturally occuring.







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