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n. (context carbohydrate English) Any sugar, such as sucrose, maltose and lactose, consisting of two monosaccharides combined together.


n. any of a variety of carbohydrates that yield two monosaccharide molecules on complete hydrolysis


A disaccharide (also called a double sugar or biose) is the sugar formed when two monosaccharides (simple sugars) are joined. Like monosaccharides, disaccharides are soluble in water. Three common examples are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.

Disaccharides are one of the four chemical groupings of carbohydrates ( monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides). The most common types of disaccharides— sucrose, lactose, and maltose—have twelve carbon atoms, with the general formula CHO. The differences in these disaccharides are due to atomic arrangements within the molecule.

The joining of simple sugars into a double sugar happens by a condensation reaction, which involves the elimination of a water molecule from the functional groups only. Breaking apart a double sugar into its two simple sugars is accomplished by hydrolysis with the help of a type of enzyme called a disaccharidase. As building the larger sugar ejects a water molecule, breaking it down consumes a water molecule. These reactions are vital in metabolism. Each disaccharide is broken down with the help of a corresponding disaccharidase ( sucrase, lactase, and maltase).