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- The word sugar has its roots in Arabic from the word sukkar, which became sukere in old French to sugre in middle English and sugar as we know it today.
- Sugar was a luxury item reserved for the privileged few until 1700.
- Sugar is a term most commonly applied to the sugar sucrose, typically extracted as a sweet juice from the sugar cane plant (saccharum officinarum).
The sugar extracted is refined to the crystalline form, which we know as cane sugar or household sugar (also see other plant sugars)
- Sugar found in food, beverages and medicines give them a sweet taste that can highlight, mask or balance other taste and flavour components.
- Artificial sugars such as Saccharine, have a high sweetness index per calories and hence popular with people watching their calorific intake.
- Because sugar, at normal concentrations, has a appealing, pleasant taste, it is also used as a term of endearment.
- Chemically, sugars are simple, water soluble carbohydrates called saccharides, from the Medieval Latin saccharum for sugar.
- Sugars can be of composed of one or more sugar units
- It is the plant carbohydrates as sugars, or converted to sugars, that are fermented to alcoholic beverages that have both enhanced and denigrated our quality of life of humans.
- The sugar sucrose is also extracted from maple tree sap and sugar beets, both capable of accumulating high levels of sucrose.
- Flower nectar, collected and concentrated to honey by bees, is another source of plant sugar mainly in the form of glucose.
- Sugars produced by plants do so by a process called photosynthesis.
- Plants use sugars for their structural needs (cellulose).
- Plants also store sugars as -
- food reserves -
- within the plant (cane, beet and maple sap - sucrose and potato - starch).
- within its seeds (sweet corn)
- and fruit (grapes - glucose and fructose)
- Plants also use sugars as a lure in the form of flower nectar (glucose/fructose) to assist pollination.
- Is the method by which plants harness the sun light energy, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and water extracted by the plant roots from the soil to produce carbohydrates.
- These carbohydrates are predominantly simple or sugars or complex sugars.
- Sugars can be of composed of one or more
When they are composed of -
The term "oligosaccharide," refers to a short chain of sugar molecules ("oligo" means "few" and "saccharide" means "sugar.")
- one base sugar unit they are termed monosaccharides (e.g. glucose, fructose)
- with more than one (1) unit are called oligosaccharides
- oligosaccharides with two (2) base units, are called disaccharides or (sucrose, maltose, lactose)
- if more than two identical units are involved they are usually refered to as polysaccharides (pectins).
- Carbohydrates are organic, biological, carbon based molecules.
- Most carbohydrates are based on the chemical formula (CH2O)n.
where n represents a number.
e.g. C6H12O6 (glucose) = (CH2O)6
- The name carbohydrate is derived from "Carbo", from carbon (C) and "hydrate" meaning to contain water (H2O) as indicated by the formula.
Hence could be termed carbon hydrates, or hydrated carbons.
- Most carbohydrates are represented by the sugar molecules, from the simple monosaccharides (glucose) to the complex polymers (cellulose, starch).