Sunday, December 10, 2017

History of carbohydrate

The initial history of carbohydrates is the story of sugar cane and the human passion for sweetness.

Sugar cane’s origin is thought to be Papua New Guinea, cultivated from wild plants about 10000 years ago during Neolithic agricultural revolution.

Crystalline sugar from cane was known in India around 300 CE and the use of sugar spread via the caravan routes over North Africa into Spain around this time.

Joseph Louis Proust, who formulated the law of definite proportions, had studied the sugar juices of plants from 1799 to 1808 and had identified three different sugars: sucrose, fructose and glucose.

In 1792, a carbohydrate was isolated from honey which was different from cane sugar. In 1802, a sweet carbohydrate was found in grapes which were also different from sucrose.

In 1820, it was found that the same crystalline sugar could be obtained from the urine of diabetics and from the acid hydrolysis of cellulose.

The name glucose was coined by Dumas in 1838 for the sugar obtained from honey, grapes, starch and cellulose; 20 years later its molecular formula of C6H12O6 was established.

The name carbohydrate was first proposed in 1844 by German chemist, Carl Schmidt.

Chemically this is logical, since as the name implies, carbohydrates are compounds of carbon and hydrogen, together with oxygen.

In 1856, Liver glycogen, the animal storage form of carbohydrate, was discovered by French physiologist Claude Bernard.
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