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Glyceraldehyde is a triose monosaccharide with chemical formula C3H6O3. It is the simplest of all common aldoses. It is a sweet colorless crystalline solid that is an intermediate compound in carbohydrate metabolism. The word comes from combining glycerine and aldehyde, as glyceraldehyde is merely glycerine with one hydroxide changed to an aldehyde.
While the optical rotation of glyceraldehyde is (+) for R and (−) for S, this is not true for all monosaccharides. The stereochemical rotation can only be determined by the chemical structure, whereas the optical rotation can only be determined empirically (by experiment).
Glyceraldehyde is used as the configurational standard for carbohydrates. Monosaccharides with an identical conformation at the last stereocentre, for example, C5 for glucose, to (R)-glyceraldehyde are assigned the stereo-descriptor D, those similar to (S)-glyceraldehyde are assigned a L. Both, D and L, should be small capital letters.
It was by a lucky guess that the D molecular geometry was assigned to (+)-glyceraldehyde in the late 19th century, as confirmed by x-ray crystallography in 1951.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Glyceraldehyde". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|