|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||60.052 g/mol|
131.3 °C, 404 K, 268 °F
| (what is: / ?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Glycolaldehyde (HOCH2-CH=O) is the smallest possible molecule that contains both an aldehyde group and a hydroxyl group. It is the only possible diose, a 2-carbon monosaccharide, although a diose is not strictly a saccharide. While not a true sugar, it is the simplest sugar-related molecule.
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Glycolaldehyde is an intermediate in the formose reaction. Glycolaldehyde forms from many precursors, including the amino acid glycine. It can form by action of ketolase on fructose 1,6-bisphosphate in an alternate glycolysis pathway. This compound is transferred by thiamine pyrophosphate during the pentose phosphate shunt.
In purine catabolism, xanthine is first converted to urate. This is converted to 5-hydroxyisourate, which decarboxylates to allantoin and allantoic acid. After hydrolyzing one urea, this leaves glycolureate. After hydrolyzing the second urea, glycolaldehyde is left. Two glycolaldehydes condense to form erythrose 4-phosphate, which goes to the pentose phosphate shunt again.
Glycolaldehyde has been identified in gas and dust near the center of the Milky Way galaxy, in a star-forming region 26000 light-years from Earth, and around a protostellar binary star, IRAS 16293-2422, 400 light years from Earth. Observation of in-falling glycolaldehyde spectra 60 AU from IRAS 16293-2422 suggests that complex organic molecules may form in stellar systems prior to the formation of planets, eventually arriving on young planets early in their formation.
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