The alditols (polyois) (Fig. 1-8), which occur naturally in plants and other organisms, are reduction products of aldoses and ketoses in which the carbonyl has been reduced to an alcohol. Reduction of ketoses, however, gives an epimeric pair of alditols unless the reaction is enzyme catalyzed and therefore stereospe-cific. The alditols, like the sugars, are soluble in water and vary in degree of sweetness. Xylitol, the sweetest, approaches the sweet-
Figure 1-8. Structures of the common sugar alcohols (alditols) xylitol and D-glucitol.
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