Name 3 Disaccharides

List of Disaccharide Examples

This is a ball and stick model of sucrose, a dissacharide formed in plants from glucose and fructose.
This is a ball and stick model of sucrose, a dissacharide formed in plants from glucose and fructose. Laguna Design, Getty Images

Disaccharides are sugars or carbohydrates made by linking two monosaccharides. This occurs via a dehydration reaction and a water of molecule is removed for each linkage. A glycosidic bond can form between any hydroxyl group on the monosaccharide, so even if the two subunits are the same sugar, there are many different combinations of bonds and stereochemistry, producing disaccharides with unique properties.

Depending on the component sugars, disaccharides may be sweet, sticky, water-soluble, or crystalline. Both natural and artificial disaccharides are known.

Here is a list of some disaccharides, including the monosaccharides they are made from and foods containing them. Sucrose, maltose, and lactose are the most familiar disaccharides, but there are others.

Sucrose (saccharose)

glucose + fructose
Sucrose is table sugar. It is purified from sugar cane or sugar beets.

Maltose

glucose + glucose
Maltose is a sugar found in some cereals and candies. It is a product of starch digestions and may be purified from barley and other grains.

Lactose

galactose + glucose
Lactose is a disaccharide found in milk. It has the formula C12H22O11 and is an isomer of sucrose.

Lactulose

galactose + fructose
Lactulose is a synthetic (man-made) sugar that is not absorbed by the body but is broken down in the colon into products that absorb water into the colon, thus softening stools.

Its primary use is to treat constipation. It is also used to reduce blood ammonia levels in persons with liver disease since lactulose absorbs ammonia into the colon (removing it from the body).

Trehalose

glucose + glucose
Trehalose is also known as tremalose or mycose. It is a natural alpha-linked disaccharide with extremely high water retention properties.

In nature, it helps plants and animals reduce long periods without water.

Cellobiose

glucose + glucose
Cellobiose is a hydrolysis product of cellulose or cellulose-rich materials, such as paper or cotton. It is formed by linking two beta-glucose molecules by a β(1→4) bond.

Table of Common Disaccharides

Here's a quick summary of the subunits of common disaccharides and how they are linked to each other.

DissacharideFirst UnitSecond UnitBond
sucroseglucosefructoseα(1→2)β
lactulosegalactosefructoseβ(1→4)
lactosegalactoseglucoseβ(1→4)
maltoseglucoseglucoseα(1→4)
trehaloseglucoseglucoseα(1→1)α
cellobioseglucoseglucoseβ(1→4)
chitobioseglucosamineglucosamineβ(1→4)

There are many other disaccharides, although they are not as common, including isomaltose (2 glucose monomers), turanose (a glucose and a fructose monomer), melibiose (a galactose and a glucose monomer), xylobiose (two xylopyranose monomers), sophorose (2 glucose monomers), and mannobiose (2 mannose monomers).

Bonds and Properties

Note multiple disaccharides are possible when monosaccharides bond to each other, since a glycosidic bond can form between any hydroxyl group on the component sugars. For example, two glucose molecules can join to form maltose, trehalose, or cellobiose.

Even though these disaccharides are made from the same component sugars, they are distinct molecules with different chemical and physical properties from each other.

Learn More

List of Monosaccharides