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An aldohexose is a hexose
In organic chemistry, a hexose is a monosaccharide with six carbon atoms, having the chemical formula C6H12O6. Hexoses are classified by functional group, with aldohexoses having an aldehyde at position 1, and ketohexoses having a ketone at position 2....

 with an aldehyde
An aldehyde is an organic compound containing a formyl group. This functional group, with the structure R-CHO, consists of a carbonyl center bonded to hydrogen and an R group....

 group on one end.

The aldohexoses have four chiral centres for a total of 16 possible aldohexose stereoisomers (24). Of these, only three commonly occur in nature: D-glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

, D-galactose
Galactose , sometimes abbreviated Gal, is a type of sugar that is less sweet than glucose. It is a C-4 epimer of glucose....

, and D-mannose
Mannose is a sugar monomer of the aldohexose series of carbohydrates. Mannose is a C-2 epimer of glucose. It is not part of human metabolism, but is a component of microbial cell walls, and is therefore a target of the immune system and also of antibiotics....

. The D/L configuration is based on the orientation of the hydroxyl
A hydroxyl is a chemical group containing an oxygen atom covalently bonded with a hydrogen atom. In inorganic chemistry, the hydroxyl group is known as the hydroxide ion, and scientists and reference works generally use these different terms though they refer to the same chemical structure in...

 at position 5, and does not refer to the direction of optical activity.

There are eight D-aldohexoses:
The chemist Emil Fischer
Hermann Emil Fischer
Hermann Emil Fischer, Emil Fischer was a German chemist and 1902 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He discovered the Fischer esterification. He developed the Fischer projection, a symbolic way of drawing asymmetric carbon atoms.-Early years:Fischer was born in Euskirchen, near Cologne,...

 is said to have devised the following mnemonic device for remembering the order given above, which corresponds to the configurations about the chiral centers when ordered as 3-bit binary strings:
All altruists gladly make gum in gallon tanks.


Aldohexoses can have one or more of their hydroxyl groups replaced by hydrogens to form deoxyaldohexoses. The following are well known cases of such compounds :
  • L-Fucose
    Fucose is a hexose deoxy sugar with the chemical formula C6H12O5. It is found on N-linked glycans on the mammalian, insect and plant cell surface, and is the fundamental sub-unit of the fucoidan polysaccharide...

  • L-Rhamnose
    Rhamnose is a naturally occurring deoxy sugar. It can be classified as either a methyl-pentose or a 6-deoxy-hexose. Rhamnose occurs in nature in its L-form as L-rhamnose . This is unusual, since most of the naturally occurring sugars are in D-form...

  • D-Quinovose (6-deoxy-D-glucose) - found as part of the sulfolipid
    Sulfolipids are a class of lipids which possess a sulfur-containing functional group. One of the most common consituents of sulfolipids is sulfoquinovose, which is acylated to form sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerols. In plants, sulfolipids are important intermediates in the sulfur cycle....

    Sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerols, abbreviated SQDG, are a class of sulfur-containing but phosphorus-free lipids found in many photosynthetic organisms.- Discovery, structure and chemical properties :...

  • L-Pneumose (6-deoxy-L-talose)