Carbohydrate chemistry is a subdiscipline of chemistry primarily concerned with the synthesis, structure, and function of carbohydrates. Due to the general structure of carbohydrates, their synthesis is often preoccupied with the selective formation of glycosidic linkages and the selective reaction of hydroxyl groups; as a result, it relies heavily on the use of protecting groups.
Individual saccharide residues are termed monosaccharides.
Carbohydrate synthesis is a sub-field of organic chemistry concerned specifically with the generation of natural and unnatural carbohydrate structures. This can include the synthesis of monosaccharide residues or structures containing more than one monosaccharide, known as oligosaccharides.
Carbohydrates are reactants in many organic reactions. For example:
Carbohydrates have four major functions within the body:
Glycoprotein hormones may be removed by the liver from the bloodstream when the passage of time causes the breaking-off of carbohydrates from the glycoproteins.