Complex carbohydrates are important biomolecules that play a role in many biological functions such as providing physical strength (connective tissue in animals and woody tissue in plants) and a source of energy reserves (glycogen in animals and starch in plants). These molecules are also known to be directly and widely involved in biological recognition and regulatory processes in normal growth and development as well as in disease processes. A large number of studies have been triggered in particular to better understand the role of abnormal (structurally altered) complex carbohydrates in disease development. These investigations will provide valuable information for the development of diagnostics, drugs, and other therapeutics for diseases involving complex carbohydrate molecules. The enormous chemical complexity and diversity of complex carbohydrates make their structural elucidation a particularly challenging task, a task that scientists would not wish to duplicate unnecessarily. Since an estimated 70% of all the N -linked oligosaccharides that researchers encounter have already been discovered and structurally characterized, the potential for duplicated efforts in structural characterization of carbohydrates is high. Furthermore, a linear tetrasaccharide, for instance, that is comprised of four different hexoses has close to 100 000 different theoretical structures due to the variety of
TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 1999
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