Glycosidic bonds are a type of covalent bonds that join carbohydrates (especially glucose) to other molecules (which can be carbohydrates too). They are the bonds found in di-, oligo- and poly-saccharides. They usually involve their alcohol (OH) groups forming ether linkages.

These ether-based glycosidic bonds can be either labelled α or β, based on whether or not the stereochemistry of the two opposite carbons (i.e., the two carbons that are in the ether glycosidic bond in question) are congruent. α glycosidic bonds have the same stereochemistry for each of these two carbons, β glycosidic bonds have opposite stereochemistry on either side.

They are also labelled (in brackets after the α/β) according to the position in which they occur on both of the two molecules (on either side of the bond). α(1→4)[note 1] glycosidic bonds are common in starch and glycogen. α(1→6) glycosidic bonds are less frequent in these polysaccharides but still present, they are the sites at which enzymes like glycogen phosphorylase act, to convert these polymers into their base monomers.


  1. Carbon 1 in 1st glucose in link, carbon 4 in 2nd glucose in link

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