CIE AS Biology (9700) 2019-2021

Revision Notes

2.2.2 The Glycosidic Bond

Forming the Glycosidic Bond

  • To make monosaccharides more suitable for transport, storage and to have less influence on a cell’s osmolarity, they are bonded together to form disaccharides and polysaccharides
  • Disaccharides and polysaccharides are formed when two hydroxyl (-OH) groups (on different saccharides) interact to form a strong covalent bond called the glycosidic bond (the oxygen link that holds the two molecules together)
  • Every glycosidic bond results in one water molecule being removed, thus glycosidic bonds are formed by condensation
  • Each glycosidic bond is catalysed by enzymes specific to which OH groups are interacting
  • As there are many different monosaccharides this results in different types of glycosidic bonds forming (e.g maltose has a α-1,4 glycosidic bond and sucrose has a α-1,2 glycosidic bond)

Types of glycosidic bonds table

Types of glycosidic bonds table, downloadable AS & A Level Biology revision notes

Exam Tip

Make sure you can identify where the glycosidic bond is in a carbohydrate.

Breaking the Glycosidic Bond

  • The glycosidic bond is broken when water is added in a hydrolysis (meaning ‘hydro’ – with water and ‘lyse’ – to break) reaction
  • Disaccharides and polysaccharides are broken down in hydrolysis reactions
  • Hydrolytic reactions are catalysed by enzymes, these are different to those present in condensation reactions
  • Examples of hydrolytic reactions include the digestion of food in the alimentary tract and the breakdown of stored carbohydrates in muscle and liver cells for use in cellular respiration
  • Sucrose is a non-reducing sugar which gives a negative result in a Benedict’s test. When sucrose is heated with hydrochloric acid this provides the water that hydrolyses the glycosidic bond resulting in two monosaccharides that will produce a positive Benedict’s test

Exam Tip

Remember that disaccharides hydrolyse to two monosaccharides whereas polysaccharides must undergo many hydrolytic reactions until they form monosaccharides.

Author: Catherine

Cate has over 20 years’ experience teaching Biology to IGCSE, IB and A-level students in seven different countries across Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. This has given her a fine appreciation of different cultures, places and teaching methods. Cate has a keen interest in producing Biology revision resources that will help students engage with the subject.
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