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Reducing sugars are oxidized by the copper ion in solution to form a carboxylic
acid and a reddish precipitate of copper (I) oxide.

A positive test is indicated by:
The formation of a reddish precipitate within three minutes.

a negative test (left) and a positive test (right)
What is a reducing sugar?
Sugars are classified as reducing or non-reducing based on their ability to act as a
reducing agent during the Benedict's Test. A reducing agent donates electrons
during a redox reaction and is itself oxidized.

The aldehyde functional group is the reducing agent in reducing sugars. Reducing
sugars have either an aldehyde functional group or have a ketone group - in an open
chain form - which can be converted into an aldehyde.

Reducing sugars are simple sugars and include all monosaccharides and most
disaccarides. Some examples of monosaccharides are glucose, fructose and
galactose.Examples of reducing disaccharides are lactose and maltose.

Note that the disaccharide sucrose is not a reducing sugar. In fact, sucrose is the
most common non-reducing sugar.

Exercise 1 - Benedict's Test for Reducing Sugars
Benedict's reagent is used as a
simple test for reducing
sugars. A reducing sugar is a
carbohydrate possessing either
a free aldehyde or free ketone
functional group as part of its molecular structure. Recall from lectures that
functional groups are the regions of a molecule that gives it particular properties. A
single molecule can have more than one functional group as part of its structure.
When a molecule with multiple functional groups is involved in a reaction all,
some or none of the functional groups may be involved.
Glucose is a reducing sugar, while the disaccharide sucrose is not. As a result,
glucose heated in Benedict's reagent reduces Cu
ions to form a green to brick-red
precipitate depending on the amount of sugar present.
In the lab you prepared 3 tubes:
1. Water and Benedict's reagent
2. Glucose and Benedict's reagent
3. Sucrose and Benedict's reagent

Seliwanoff's Test

Shows positive test for:

The test reagent dehydrates ketohexoses to form 5-hydroxymethylfurfural.
5-hydroxymethylfurfural further reacts with resorcinol present in the test
reagent to produce a red product within two minutes (reaction not shown).
Aldohexoses react to form the same product, but do so more slowly.

How to perform the test:
One half ml of a sample solution is placed in a test tube. Two ml of
Seliwanoff's reagent (a solution of resorcinol and HCl) is added. The
solution is then heated in a boiling water bath for two minutes.

A positive test is indicated by:
The formation of a red product.

a negative test (left) and a positive test (right)