We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Rhamnose?

By Helga George
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Rhamnose is an unusual sugar that is found primarily in plants and some bacteria. Unlike most natural sugars, it is found in an L configuration instead of the usual D configuration. It forms a major structural component of plant cell walls and is also bound to other compounds, such as phenolics. In some gram negative bacteria, the sugar is bound to lipids. Both the pure compound and the lipid component have a number of uses in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, and cosmetic industries.

In addition to its unusual L structural configuration, this unusual compound is also atypical because it is a deoxy sugar. Such sugars are usually components of DNA or RNA. This compound is found as simple sugar in some plants, but more commonly is found as a glycoside. Such structures combine a sugar with another compound, such as a phenolic.

One highly important and widespread use of this sugar in plants is as a component of polysaccharides known as rhamnogalacturonans. Such polymers are important for plant cell wall structural integrity and comprise part of pectin, one of the substances that holds plant cell walls together. These are long chains of L-rhamnose mixed with galacturonic acid. There are different types of rhamnogalacturonans that vary in their degree of branching and components, which may include other sugars.

Bacteria known as mycobacteria have rhamnose in their outer membrane. Such bacteria include the casual agent of tuberculosis. Drugs that target the synthesis of this sugar are being studied as possible clinical agents to treat this disease.

Other bacteria utilize rhamnose combined with lipids in their polysaccharides, resulting in compounds called rhamnolipids. Those produced by the gram negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa are used commercially. At least one other type of gram negative bacterium has been genetically engineered to produce a larger percentage of rhamnolipid in the exopolysaccharide surrounding the cells to facilitate improved extraction of the compound for industrial uses.

Rhamnolipids have the properties of a surfactant, meaning they can mix with oil and water. Most such compounds have been made from petroleum products in the past. These naturally based compounds are considered a green alternative to older products, and are often used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture.

In addition to the direct use of rhamnolipids, they are also used as commercial sources of rhamnose sugar. It is not ideal to have plants as a source of an industrial compound, since their availability may be limited. Many companies prefer to obtain industrial natural products from genetically engineered sources.

There are myriad other uses for this sugar. For instance, there is an overexpression system in which the production of the desired gene is triggered by adding sterilized rhamnose to the genetically engineered bacteria. A rhamnose test is available for intestinal permeability in humans. Many prescription drugs, such as non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can cause intestinal damage that manifests as leakage through the intestines. Having patients drink a solution of lactulose and L-rhamnose is one way of testing for this condition.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.