Trehalose is a disaccharide - formula C12
- consisting of two glucose units (12 carbon atoms, and 2 ring-shaped structures, each containing an oxygen atom) - like maltose and cellobiose.
However there are major differences between trehalose, maltose and cellobiose:
The two glucose residues are linked via a differently oriented glycosidic bond - an
α (alpha) 1-1 bond
- joining them 'head to head' at the C1 position.
bonding carbon atom numbers.
This bond - effectively an oxygen bridge - is formed as a result of a condensation reaction and it does not leave a section which can open to reveal aldehyde or ketone groups, so it is not a reducing sugar
Trehalose is widely distributed in Nature.
It is found in fungi, bacteria and arthropods, and some plant seeds.