MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: I used a copper ammonia solution to test for the presence of monosaccharide

Date: Thu Feb 15 11:18:21 2001
Posted By: Gil Stoewsand, Faculty, Food Science & Technology, Cornell University
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 981558939.Ch

Copper, as the cupric salt, is reduced by glucose to cuprous oxide. This 
reduction to a red colored cuprous oxide can be used as a measure of 
certain sugars present. However, this does not distinguish between mono, 
di, and polysaccharides. For example, there are non-reducing disaccharides-
sucose and trehalose (present in mushrooms), and reducing disaccharides-
lactose (in milk), maltose,cellobiose, etc.

For a copper reduction test, one usually uses a Fehling solution-a 
combination of cupric hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, and sodium 
tartrate.Also, there are other copper solutions used for sugar analysis.  
There are tables relating to the amount of sugar to the amount of cupric 
ion reduced. I think that you need some hands on instruction on the use of 
copper salts to determine sugars in foods. Possibly, a high school 
chemistry teacher could help.In addition, you really need some background 
instruction in chemistry to know what exactly that you are doing, how 
accurate the test is, and what does it really mean. 

By the way, check with a trainer or exercise physiologist on what type of 
carbohydrate food is needed or helpful, if indeed anything special, before 
working out. Good luck!

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