Note on Formaldehyde and Carbohydrates

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Formaldehyde, a derivative of hydrocarbon, is the simplest compound which is formed by combining methyl (alkali group) and aldehyde (functional group). It occurs naturally with its molecular formula CH2O (H.CHO). It can be produced in an industry by passing oxygen to methyl alcohol or methanol.

\(\overset{CH­_3OH}{Methyl\:Alcohol} + O_2 \rightarrow \(\overset{2CH_2O}{Formaldehyde} + 2H_2O\)  


/ C \
H  H

Molecular Structure


  1. Formaldehyde is used to protect dead bodies in wet condition, especially of plants and animals.
  2. Formaldehyde can be used in manufacturing industries.
  3. Formaldehyde can be used as disinfectant and tissue fixative.
  4. Formaldehyde is used in photography purpose as well.

Harmful Effects of Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde can be very hazardous for human health even though it is used for many purposes in our daily life. A number of safety measures must be followed while using formaldehyde. It can be very dangerous to human health and is considered as human carcinogen i.e. a substance capable of causing cancer.


Carbohydrate is also known as saccharides, which is derived from the Greek word “saccharin” means sugar. The components of carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which are the essential biomolecules that provide energy to the living beings. The general formula of carbohydrates is C­n(H2O)n in which the hydrogen and oxygen generally occurs in the ratio of 2:1. So, it can be said “hydrates of carbon” or “watered carbon” or carbon with attached water molecules. On the basis of complexity of chemical substances, it can be classified into following three types:

  • Monosaccharaides
    Monosaccharaides are the simplest form of carbohydrates that are formed by 3-7 carbon atoms. They taste sweet and are highly soluble in water. They are so simple that they cannot be hydrolyzed into small carbohydrates. For example: sugar, glucose, etc.
  • Oligosaccharides
    The carbohydrates that are composed of 2-10 monosaccharaides are said to be oligosaccharides. They produce monosaccharaides i.e. sweet sugar on hydrolysis. They taste sweet and are soluble in water. For example: sucrose, maltose and lactose.
  • Polysaccharides
    The carbohydrates that are composed of more than 10 oligosaccharides are known as polysaccharides. They produce a number of monosaccharaides on hydrolysis. They are complex molecules so they are insoluble in water and did not taste sweet. For example: starch, cellulose and glycogen.

Glucose is one of the most common and abundant monosaccharide which is derived from the Greek word “glukus” means “sweet”. It is found in white crystalline powered form which is highly soluble in water and tastes sweet. Its molecular formula is C6H12O6 which means it contains 6 carbon atoms, 12 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms in its molecule. It is also called hexoses sugar and dextrose as dextrose is chemically identical to glucose, or blood sugar. Glucose is soluble so it is easily transported to all the body cells via blood.

Natural Food Sources of Glucose

Glucose is manufactured by plants with the help of energy from sun in the process of making food i.e. photosynthesis, which is very useful for living beings. Some of the major sources of glucose are: whole grain bread and cereals, pasta, potatoes, dairy products, vegetables, etc.

Uses of Glucose

  1. Glucose is the source of energy for brain cell that helps to carry out nerve cell conduction, muscle cell contraction, active transport and the production of chemical substances. The energy is produced in the form of ATP (Adenosine Tri- Phosphate).
  2. Liquid glucose, an important form of glucose, is widely used as sweetener in food and beverage. It has a variety of uses in industries including food production, beverage, pharmaceutical, agriculture/ animal feed, and various other industries.
  3. The various metabolic activities of the body is regulated by glucose.

Harmful Effects of Glucose

  1. Many diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, depression and swollen of body parts are caused due to intake of high blood glucose. It also increases the risk of heart disease and weight gain. When the blood glucose level is high in body, it does not use glucose properly and does not make the hormone insulin in adequate amount.
  2. Diseases like hypoglycemia, both short- term complications, like confusion and dizziness, as well as more serious long- term complications like restless nights, shakes and tremors, emotional instability, sweating, vision problems, blurred speech, etc. are caused due to low blood sugar.

Hence, high blood sugar and low blood sugar both are harmful in our life.


Sucrose, a part of our food that provides us energy, is a disaccharide which is found in humans, plants and their parts. Its molecular formula is C12H22O11. It is commonly found in plants but sugarcane, sugarbeet and some species of sorghum are commercial sources of sucrose. It is produced during photosynthesis as plants generally transport carbohydrates from leaves to other organs in form of sucrose. After the process of refining, it is called cane or table sugar. The combination of a glucose molecule with a fructose molecule between their 1 to 2 carbons by glycosidic linkage forms sucrose. Sucrose produces one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose during hydrolysis.

                C12H22O11 + H2O \(\xrightarrow {Hydrolysis\:by\:enzyme\:sucrase}\) \(\overset{C_6H_12O_6}{Glucose)}\) + \(\overset{C_6H_12O_6}{Fructose}\)

 Sucrose is a white crystalline solid which is highly soluble in water with its melting point 180oC. A brown substance, which is sweeter than glucose, called caramel is formed when it is heated above its melting point.

  1. Formaldehyde (CH2O) is the simplest form of compound which is formed by combining methyl and aldehyde.
  2. Despite of high use in our daily lives, formaldehyde is hazardous for human health.
  3. Carbohydrates (Cn(H2O)n) is composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which provides energy to living cells.
  4. Monosaccharaides, Oligosaccharides and Polysaccharides are the three types of carbohydrates on the basis of complexities of chemical substances.
  5. Glucose (C6H12O6) is one of the common and abundant monosaccharaides which is also known as single sugar.
  6. Both high blood glucose and low blood glucose is harmful to human beings.
  7. Sucrose (C12H22O11) is a white crystalline solid which after heating above its melting point of 180oC becomes caramel.

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