Monosaccharides are the simplest form of carbohydrates. They consist of one sugar and are usually colorless, water-soluble, crystalline solids. Some monosaccharides have a sweet taste. Examples of monosaccharides include glucose, fructose, galactose, and ribose. Each carbon atom that supports a hydroxyl group (except for the first and last) is chiral, giving rise to a number of isomeric forms all with the same chemical formula. For instance, galactose and glucose are both aldohexoses, but they have different chemical and physical properties.
With few exceptions (e.g. deoxyribose), monosaccharides have the chemical formula (CH2O)n and the chemical structure H(CHOH)nC=O(CHOH)mH. If n or m is zero, it is an aldehyde and is termed an aldose, otherwise it is a ketone and is termed a ketose. Monosaccharides contain either a ketone or aldehyde functional group, and hydroxyl groups on most or all of the non-carbonyl carbon atoms.
- Monosaccharide by Wikipedia