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Glucose - C₆H₁₂O₆

Last updated date: 27th Feb 2024
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What is Glucose?

When we eat, our digestive system breaks down the food into glucose, the body's major energy source. The most common type of simple sugar found in living organisms is glucose. When glucose is consumed and absorbed into the bloodstream, it is referred to as blood glucose or blood sugar.

The body needs glucose to function properly, and a rapid spike or fall in blood sugar levels might have negative consequences. Foods high in carbs, such as bread, fruits, and dairy products, help your body produce glucose.

Quick-release glucose supplements, which are an effective treatment for hypoglycemia, a disease characterised by a drop in blood sugar which also provides glucose on-demand. Diabetes patients must pay extra attention to their blood glucose levels.



The word "glucose" is derived from the Greek word "sweet." It's a form of sugar that comes from the meals you eat and is used by your body for energy. Since it flows through your bloodstream and into your cells, it's termed blood glucose or blood sugar.

Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose from the bloodstream to cells and uses it as fuel and storage.

Diabetes individuals have higher-than-normal blood glucose levels. They don't have enough insulin or their cells don't react to it as they should. 

Glucose can be described as a simple sugar, having one aldehyde group and six carbon atoms. This monosaccharide's chemical formula can be given as C6H12O6.

It is also called dextrose and is referred to as aldohexose because it contains one aldehyde group and 6 carbon atoms. It is open in two forms, as a ring or open-chain structure. It is synthesised in the kidneys and liver of the animals. In plants, it is found in fruits and various plant parts. D- glucose is the one which occurs in a natural form of glucose. It occurs either in solid or liquid form. It is also soluble in water and also in acetic acid. It is sweet to taste and is odourless. In 1747, a German chemist named "Andreas Marggraf" isolated glucose from raisins. In 1838, Jean Baptiste Dumas coined the word glucose.


Properties of Glucose

Let us look at the important properties of glucose as tabulated below.

C6H12O6 chemical name or chemical name of glucose


Chemical Formula or glucose formula



1.54 g/cm³

Molecular Weight or Molar Mass

180.16 g/mol

Melting Point

146 °C

Simple sugar



C₆H₁₂O₆ Structure

(Image to be added soon)


  • Glucose is also called aldohexose and dextrose. It is a monomer of various larger compounds like starch, cellulose, and carbohydrates, which is the earth's most abundant organic compound. Based on the following evidence, it was assigned with the structure as illustrated above.

  • This compound has a molecular formula of C6H12O6.

  • When HI is heated for a longer time, n-hexane is formed, which indicates all the 6 carbon atoms are combined in a straight chain.

  • The oxime is formed when glucose reacts with cyanohydrins and hydroxylamine by adding hydrogen cyanide to it. This reaction can confirm the carbonyl group's presence in glucose.

  • In the glucose reaction with a mild oxidising agent such as bromine water, glucose gets oxidised to a carboxylic acid that contains 6 carbon atoms, which indicates that the carbonyl group exists as an aldehyde group.

  • The -OH group's presence can be confirmed after the acetylation of glucose with acetic acid, which forms glucose pentaacetate.

  • The gluconic acid and glucose both yield saccharic acid and dicarboxylic acid on the oxidation with nitric acid. This can indicate the presence of primary alcohol.

Process of Producing Glucose in the Body

The human body processes glucose multiple times in a day, ideally.

When we start eating, our body starts working to process glucose immediately. The enzymes start the breakdown process taking the help of the pancreas - which produces hormones, including insulin, is an integral part of the way our body deals with glucose. Also, our body tips the pancreas off when we eat, which requires a release of insulin dealing with the blood sugar level rising.

However, some people cannot rely on their pancreas to jump in and do its supposed work.

One way diabetes befalls when the pancreas does not produce insulin in the proper way it should. In this case, humans need outside help (such as insulin injections) to process and regulate the glucose inside the body. Insulin resistance is another cause of diabetes, where the liver does not recognize insulin present in the body and continues to make inappropriate glucose amounts. The liver is an essential organ to control sugar because it helps with glucose storage and produces glucose when necessary.

If the body does not form the required amount of insulin, it might release free fatty acids from the fat store, which can lead to the condition known as ketoacidosis. Ketones are the waste products created when the liver breaks down fat and can be toxic in large quantities.


Testing the Glucose Level

Testing glucose levels is most important for people having diabetes. Many people with this condition are used to dealing with blood sugar checks as part of their everyday lives.

The most popular way to test glucose at home involves a simple blood test. Usually, a finger prick uses a small needle known as a lancet, produces a drop, and puts it onto a test strip. Then, the strip is placed into a metre, which measures the sugar levels in the blood. Usually, it can give us reading in less than 20 seconds.


Consequences for Unregulated Glucose Levels

There are various long-term consequences for unregulated glucose levels, leading to different conditions, as listed below.

  • heart disease

  • neuropathy

  • skin infections

  • blindness

  • severe dehydration

  • problems in the extremities and joints, especially the feet

  • coma

Other serious complications include hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome, both conditions related to diabetes, and diabetic ketoacidosis.


People worried about having diabetes are advised to seek immediate help from a doctor.

Uses Of Glucose C6H12O6

  • It is a drug used to treat hypoglycemia (hypoglycemia) 

  • It is given to patients who cannot eat because it contains carbohydrate calories. 

  • It is used as a preliminary step in substance synthesis.

  • Glucose can be used in the hypoglycemia treatment (low blood sugar)

  • It can be used in the increased potassium level treatment in the blood (hyperkalemia)

  • It can be given to very sick patients and cannot eat because it produces carbohydrate calories

  • It is also used as a precursor for the synthesis of substances.

FAQs on Glucose - C₆H₁₂O₆

1. What is glucose?

Glucose, which has six carbon atoms and one aldehyde group,  is a monosaccharide. The molecular formula of this monosaccharide is C6H12O6. Glucose is another name for it. It is called aldohexose because it has 6 carbon atoms and 1 aldehyde group. It can be opened in two different ways: as an open chain or ring structure. Animals produce it in the liver and kidneys. It can occur in both the fruit of the plant and other parts of the plant. Glucose is the most common type of glucose found in nature. It can be solid or liquid. It is both water-soluble and acetic acid-soluble. It has no smell and is delicious.

2. What are the properties of glucose – \[C_{6}H_{12}O_{6}\]?

Aldohexose and dextrose are two names for glucose. Many large molecules such as carbohydrates, starch, and cellulose are their monomers.  The properties were assigned based on the following evidence:

  1. C6H12O6 is its molecular formula. 

  2.  nHexane is formed by heating HI  for a long time. This indicates that all six carbon atoms are bonded in a linear bond. 

  3. When hydrocyanic acid is added to glucose, it interacts with hydroxylamine and cyanohydrin to produce oxides. 

  4. The presence of carbonyl groups in glucose can be confirmed by this reaction.  

  5. When glucose reacts with a mild oxidant such as bromine water,  glucose is converted to a carboxylic acid with 6 carbon atoms. 

  6. The carbonyl group exists as an aldehyde group. After acetylating glucose with acetic acid to form glucose pentaacetate, the presence of  OH groups is detected. 

  7. When glucose and gluconic acid are oxidised by nitric acid, they produce dicarboxylic acid and glucaric acid. 

3. What is the structure of glucose?

Glucose is commonly found as a monohydrate (dextrose hydrate) with a closed pyran ring in a solid. In aqueous solution, on the other hand, it is mostly found as - or -pyranose, which interconverts, and is an open-chain to a modest extent. The three known forms of -glucopyranose, -glucopyranose, and -glucopyranose hydrate can be crystallised from aqueous solutions. Glucose is a component of lactose and sucrose (cane or beet sugar), as well as oligosaccharides like raffinose and polysaccharides like starch and amylopectin, glycogen, and cellulose. The Gordon-Taylor constant for glucose is 4.5 and the glass transition temperature is 31 ° C (88 ° F).

4. How do we process glucose?

Depending on our physical activities and when we last ate, our blood sugar levels rise and fall throughout the day. Our bodies obtain all of the glucose they require from the foods and beverages we ingest. Before eating, a healthy person's glucose level should be between 4 and 7 mmol/l.


For up to two hours after eating, this level can reach 8.5–9mmol/l. The pancreas generates insulin, a hormone that breaks down glucose, to assist your cells in absorbing glucose. As a result, our blood sugar levels plummet until our next meal.


Diabetes is caused by the body's inability to create enough insulin or to effectively utilise the insulin that is produced. To control their glucose levels, people with this illness require an external source of insulin (usually in the form of insulin injections).

5. What is glucose in food?

Glucose is a monosaccharide or simple sugar. It's your body's favourite source of carbohydrate-based energy.

Monosaccharides are sugar molecules that are composed of only one sugar unit and cannot be decomposed into simpler compounds. Carbohydrates are made up of these building blocks.

Glucose is usually coupled to another simple sugar in meals to produce polysaccharide starches or disaccharides like sucrose and lactose.

It's commonly found in processed goods as dextrose, which is made from cornstarch.

Glucose is sweeter than fructose and sucrose, but not as much as fructose or sucrose.