What is the difference between hydrocarbons and carbohydrates

Difference Between Hydrocarbons and Carbohydrates

Hydrocarbons versus carbohydrates

Organic molecules are molecules made up of carbons. Organic molecules are the most abundant molecules in living things on this planet. The most important organic molecules in living things include carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. Nucleic acids like DNA contain genetic information from organisms. Carbon compounds like proteins form structural components of our body, and they form enzymes that catalyze all metabolic functions. Organic molecules provide us with energy to carry out everyday functions.

Not only are we made up of organic molecules, but there are many types of organic molecules around us that we use for different purposes every day. The clothes we wear are made up of either natural or synthetic organic molecules. Many of the materials in our homes are also organic. Gasoline, which powers cars and other machines, is organic. Most of the drugs we take, pesticides and insecticides, are made up of organic molecules. Hence, organic molecules are linked to almost every aspect of our life.


Hydrocarbons are organic molecules that consist only of carbon and hydrogen atoms. The total oxidation of hydrocarbons results in only carbon dioxide and water. Hydrocarbons are hydrophobic, and as the molecule gets larger, the hydrophobicity also increases.

Hydrocarbons can be aromatic or aliphatic. They are mainly divided into a few types, such as alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes, and aromatic hydrocarbons. They can also be divided into two as saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons.

Saturated hydrocarbons can also be referred to as alkanes. They have the highest number of hydrogen atoms that a molecule can hold. All bonds between carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms are single bonds. This enables the bond between atoms. They are the simplest type of hydrocarbon. Saturated hydrocarbons have the general formula C.nH2n + 2. These conditions differ slightly for the cycloalkanes, since they have cyclic structures.

In unsaturated hydrocarbons there are double or triple bonds between the carbon atoms. Since there are multiple bonds, the optimal number of hydrogen atoms is not present in the molecule. Alkenes and alkynes are examples of unsaturated hydrocarbons. Acyclic molecules with double bonds have the general formula of CnH2n, and alkynes have the general formula of CnH2n-2.


Carbohydrates are a group of compounds defined as "polyhydroxy aldehydes and ketones or substances that hydrolyze to polyhydroxy aldehydes and ketones." Carbohydrates are the most abundant organic molecules on earth. They are the source of chemical energy for living organisms. In addition, they serve as important components of the tissue.

Carbohydrates are synthesized in plants and some microorganisms through photosynthesis. Carbohydrates get their name because they have Formula C.x(H2O)x and this looked like carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can in turn be divided into three categories: monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides are the simplest type of carbohydrate. Disaccharides and monosaccharides are easily soluble in water and they have a sweet taste. They can be crystallized. Polysaccharides have different properties than other carbohydrates because they are polymers. They don't have a sweet taste; some are partially soluble in water while others are insoluble. Polysaccharides can be hydrolyzed like disaccharides.

Hydrocarbons versus carbohydrates

  • Hydrocarbons only have carbon and hydrogen atoms, while carbohydrates have oxygen or nitrogen atoms other than carbon and hydrogen.
  • Hydrocarbons are non-polar and carbohydrates are polar molecules. Therefore, some carbohydrates dissolve easily in water, while hydrocarbons are hydrophobic.