July 03, 2012
Image of D-Glucose

D-Glucose is the most common naturally occurring simple sugar and is a building block for disaccharides sucrose and lactose and higher oligo- and polysaccharides. It is the only sugar unit in cellulose and starch. Animals and plants produce D-glucose by glycogenolysis and photosynthesis, respectively, and use it as a primary energy source. D-Glucose is often depicted in the open form, but in solution more than 99% of it exists in one of two closed pyranose forms (α-D-glucopyranose is illustrated). Emil Fischer received the 1902 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his pioneering work in elucidating the structures of D-glucose and other sugars.

MOTW Update:
March 27, 2017

Last week, C&EN reported that a handheld glucose meter can be used to determine whether a patient is suffering from the flu or a bacterial infection. If the patient has the flu, viral neuraminidases in a nasal swab liberate galactose in a test strip. Another enzyme decomposes the galactose to glucose, which registers on the meter. If no glucose is detected, it is presumed that the infection is bacterial.

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