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Rhamnose is a naturally-occurring deoxy sugar. It can be classified either as a methyl-pentose or a 6-deoxy-hexose. Rhamnose occurs in nature in its L-form as L-rhamnose (6-deoxy-L-mannose). This is unusual since most of the naturally-occurring sugars are in D-form. Exceptions are the methyl pentoses L-fucose and L-rhamnose and the pentose L-arabinose.

L-Rhamnose can be isolated from Buckthorn (Rhamnus) and poison sumac. It is also found as a glycoside in a variety of other plants.

Rhamnose is a component of the outer cell membrane of acid-fast bacteria in the Mycobacterium genus, which includes the organsism that causes tuberculosis.[1]


  1. Golan, David E., ed. (2005). "Chapter 35 - Pharmacology of the Bacterial Cell Wall". Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiologic Basis of Drug Therapy. Armen H. Tashjian Jr., Ehrin J. Armstrong, Joshua N. Galanter, April Wang Armstrong, Ramy A. Arnaout, Harris S. Rose. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. p. 569. ISBN 0-7817-4678-7.

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