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Classifying Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate classification is often complex and done in various ways. However, for histological purposes, carbohydrates are classified based upon their molecular structure and their reaction with various dyes/staining solutions.
Simple Carbohydrates: Molecules are composed purely of carbohydrates.
  • Monosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides, such as glycogen
Glycoconjugates: Molecules are composed of carbohydrates plus protein or lipid.
  • Proteoglycans found in connective tissue
  • Mucopolysaccharides, also known as mucins, which are further classified as acid mucins and neutral mucins