The Web of Life (55-1) Plant Carbohydrates


Photosynthesis in plants leads to the accumulation of carbohydrates (e.g., sugars, starch), upon which all terrestrial life depends. ~ American botanist David Braun

Carbohydrates all adhere to the chemical formula: Cm(H2O)n: carbon and water, where m and n differ. The term carbohydrate is a misnomer, as carbohydrates are not actually hydrates of carbon.

Carbohydrates’ different forms are all of fuel storage, from the simplest sugars: monosaccharides, which are easily digested, to complex starches: polysaccharides. Plant gums are a viscous polysaccharide.

The m in monosaccharides runs from 3; in polysaccharides, m is between 200 to 2,500.

Glucose is a simple sugar, one of the main products of photosynthesis, the starter of cellular respiration, and a primary energy source. Glucose is a ubiquitous organic fuel, for bacteria and humans alike.

Via aerobic respiration, glucose is the human body’s key source of energy. Starches break down into glucose, which is oxidized to eventuate into carbon dioxide and water as byproducts. ATP is the goal: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, with a dash of nitrogen and phosphorus.

Beside pure energy, several polysaccharides play important roles in the activation of animal immune systems.