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Furanose vs. Pyranose: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 1, 2024
Furanose refers to a five-membered ring sugar structure, resembling furan, while pyranose refers to a six-membered ring sugar structure, similar to pyran.

Key Differences

Furanose sugars are characterized by their five-membered ring structure, which includes four carbon atoms and one oxygen atom. Pyranose sugars, in contrast, have a six-membered ring structure composed of five carbon atoms and one oxygen atom.
In furanose, the ring structure resembles the organic compound furan. On the other hand, the pyranose ring structure is similar to the organic compound pyran, hence their respective names.
Examples of furanose sugars include fructose and ribose, which play crucial roles in biology. Examples of pyranose sugars include glucose and galactose, which are important in energy metabolism and cellular processes.
Furanose forms can be found in nucleotides and RNA. Pyranose forms are typically found in starch and cellulose, key components of plant structure and energy storage.
Both furanose and pyranose structures can exist in alpha and beta anomeric forms, which differ in the position of the hydroxyl group at the anomeric carbon. The structural differences between furanose and pyranose have significant implications for their chemical properties and biological functions.

Comparison Chart

Ring Size

Five-membered (4 carbons, 1 oxygen)
Six-membered (5 carbons, 1 oxygen)

Structural Resemblance

Similar to furan
Similar to pyran

Common Examples

Fructose, ribose
Glucose, galactose

Biological Role

Found in nucleotides, RNA
Found in starch, cellulose

Anomeric Forms

Can have alpha or beta configurations
Can have alpha or beta configurations

Furanose and Pyranose Definitions


Can switch between alpha and beta anomeric forms.
The furanose ring in certain sugars exhibits mutarotation.


A six-membered ring sugar structure.
Glucose often exists in its pyranose form.


Sugars structurally resembling furan.
Fructose is commonly found in its furanose form.


Found in plant starch and cellulose.
Starch molecules are composed of glucose pyranose units.


Part of nucleotide structures in RNA.
The furanose form of ribose is integral to RNA's structure.


Exhibits alpha and beta anomeric configurations.
The pyranose form of glucose shows different properties in its alpha and beta forms.


Important in various biological processes.
Furanose sugars play a role in cellular energy transfer.


Sugars with a structure similar to pyran.
The pyranose form of galactose is crucial in lactose.


A five-membered ring sugar structure.
Ribose in RNA is a type of furanose.


Essential for energy storage and structural functions.
Cellulose, made of glucose pyranose, gives plants structural strength.


A sugar having a cyclic structure resembling that of furan.


(chemistry) any cyclic hemiacetal form of a monosaccharide having a six-membered ring (based on tetrahydropyran)


(chemistry) any cyclic hemiacetal form of a monosaccharide having a five-membered ring (the tetrahydrofuran skeleton)


Is pyranose found in starch?

Yes, starch is composed of glucose pyranose units.

Can furanose form both alpha and beta anomers?

Yes, furanose can exist in both configurations.

What is a furanose?

Furanose is a sugar with a five-membered ring structure.

What is a pyranose?

Pyranose is a sugar with a six-membered ring structure.

Is glucose a type of pyranose?

Yes, glucose often exists as a pyranose.

Are pyranose sugars found in cellulose?

Yes, cellulose is made of glucose pyranose.

Are ribose and fructose examples of furanose?

Yes, both can exist in the furanose form.

Does furanose play a role in RNA structure?

Yes, ribose, a furanose, is part of RNA's structure.

Is furanose involved in energy transfer in cells?

Yes, furanose sugars are important in cellular energy processes.

Are furanose sugars less stable than pyranose?

Furanose can be less stable due to its ring size.

How does the structure of furanose differ from pyranose?

Furanose has a five-membered ring, while pyranose has six.

Do both furanose and pyranose have roles in biochemistry?

Yes, both are important in different biochemical processes.

Are pyranose structures found in animals?

Yes, animals use glucose pyranose for energy.

Can pyranose be part of human nutrition?

Yes, glucose pyranose is a major energy source.

Is lactose made of pyranose sugars?

Yes, lactose contains glucose and galactose pyranose.

Does furanose have a specific role in genetics?

Furanose sugars like ribose are integral to RNA, which is key in genetics.

Can furanose be found in DNA?

No, DNA contains deoxyribose, which is not a furanose.

What makes pyranose important in plants?

Pyranose forms of glucose are key in plant structure and energy storage.

Can furanose forms be found in everyday foods?

Yes, fructose, a common sweetener, can be in furanose form.

Is pyranose important for dietary fiber?

Yes, as it's a component of cellulose, a dietary fiber.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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