glucose, dextrose, or grape sugar, monosaccharide sugar with the empirical formula C6H12O6 . This carbohydrate occurs in the sap of most plants and in the juice of grapes and other fruits. Glucose is a normal component of animal blood; it thus requires no digestion prior to absorption into the bloodstream. Glucose can be obtained by hydrolysis of a variety of carbohydrates, e.g., milk and cane sugars, maltose, cellulose, or glycogen, but it is usually manufactured by hydrolysis of cornstarch with steam and dilute acid; the corn syrup thus obtained contains also some dextrins and maltose. Glucose is used in the manufacture of candy, chewing gum, jams, jellies, table syrups, and other foods, and for many other purposes. It is the major source of energy in animal metabolism. Glucose tastes only about three-fourths as sweet as table sugar (sucrose). The presence of glucose can be detected by use of Fehling's solution; various modifications of this test are used to detect glucose in urine, which may be a symptom of diabetes.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.