Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Shin Miyakawa
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1023-2



Monosaccharides are monomeric carbohydrate molecules. Examples include glucose, fructose, galactose, xylose, and ribose. 2-Deoxyribose and ribose are constituents of DNA and RNA, respectively. Many of the carbon atoms attached to hydroxyl groups are chiral centers, giving rise to a number of isomeric forms. Many monosaccharides are unstable over geological time scales. The half-lives for the decomposition of ribose, for example, are 73 min at 100 °C, and 44 years at 0 °C at pH 7. They can be formed in the formose reaction from formaldehyde. Monosaccharide-like compounds have been found in carbonaceous chondrites, and one of the ketoses, dihydroxyacetone (HOCH2COCH2OH), was identified in the extract of Murchison meteorite.

See Also


Carbon Atom Bioorganic Chemistry Geological Time Chiral Center Simple Sugar 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ribomic IncTokyoJapan