My textbook states that for two glucose molecues to link together, they must be of the same form, i.e. they must both be either $\alpha$-glucose or $\beta$-glucose molecules.

Why is that the case?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What precisely does your textbook say? Can you quote and cite? What is your thinking on the matter/best guess from what you know? $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Apr 20, 2022 at 0:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You tag your question organic chemistry, and perhaps you are thinking of it from that angle. Think of it as biochemistry. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Apr 20, 2022 at 7:36
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause my textbook says: "Although some chains of sugars store energy, others serve as structural material for cells. For two glucose molecules to link together, the glucose subunits must be of the same form. Cellulose is a polymer of $\beta$-glucose." I don't see any reason why an $\alpha$- and a $\beta$-glucose molecule shouldn't be able to link together, chemically. The only other idea I have is that maybe there are no cells/enzymes that can facilitate a dehydration reaction between the two - which would fit David's hint. $\endgroup$
    – hm1912
    Apr 20, 2022 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ It would indeed fit because enzymes only evolve and “stick” if they catalyse a reaction of use to an organism. Your textbook should have made that clear. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Apr 20, 2022 at 12:55


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