[ Oligosaccharide ]

A carbohydrate molecule comprising of between three and ten monosaccharide units linked by glycosidic bonds. Enzymatic glycolysis breaks the glycosidic linkages, reducing them into disaccharides and monosaccharides.

In plants, the role of oligosaccharides may be structural, sygnalling or energy storage. In humans, in addition to their role as energy storage, they have numerous roles in cellular signalling, gastrointestinal health and immune response.

Dietary oligosaccharides are not sweet-tasting. Those that are not digested (usually due to lack of lack of appropriate enzymes for hydrolysis) may fuction as soluble fibre or prebiotics in the large intestine.

Examples: Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and Isomalto-oligosaccharides (IOS).

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