What Is the Chemical Formula of Sugar?

Chemical Formulas of Different Types of Sugar

Sucrose (table sugar) chemical formula

ThoughtCo / Hilary Allison

The chemical formula of sugar depends on what type of sugar you are talking about and what type of formula you need. Table sugar is the common name for a sugar known as sucrose. It is a type of disaccharide made from the combination of the monosaccharides glucose and fructose. The chemical or molecular formula for sucrose is C12H22O11, which means each molecule of sugar contains 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms and 11 oxygen atoms.

The type of sugar called sucrose is also known as saccharose. It is a saccharide that is made in many different plants. Most table sugar comes from sugar beets or sugarcane. The purification process involves bleaching and crystallization to produce a sweet, odorless powder.

The English chemist William Miller coined the name sucrose in 1857 by combining the French word sucre, which means "sugar", with the -ose chemical suffix that is used for all sugars.

Formulas for Different Sugars

However, there are many different sugars besides sucrose.

Other sugars and their chemical formulas include:

Arabinose - C5H10O5

Fructose - C6H12O6

Galactose - C6H12O6

Glucose - C6H12O6

Lactose - C12H22O11

Inositol - C6H12O6

Mannose - C6H12O6

Ribose - C5H10O5

Trehalose - C12H22O11 

Xylose - C5H10O5

Many sugars share the same chemical formula, so it is not a good way to distinguish between them. The ring structure, location and type of chemical bonds, and three-dimensional structure are used to distinguish between sugars.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Is the Chemical Formula of Sugar?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/chemical-formula-of-sugar-604003. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2023, April 5). What Is the Chemical Formula of Sugar? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/chemical-formula-of-sugar-604003 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Is the Chemical Formula of Sugar?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/chemical-formula-of-sugar-604003 (accessed June 10, 2023).