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Keywords:

  • conformational analysis;
  • hydrogen bonding;
  • ribose;
  • rotational spectroscopy;
  • sugars
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Sweet truth: The search for sugars in interstellar space is hampered by a lack of spectroscopic information. D-Ribose is now the first C5 sugar observed in the gas phase using microwave spectroscopy. The rotational spectrum revealed six conformations of free ribose, adopting preferentially β-pyranose rings and higher-energy α-pyranose forms. No evidence of α-/β-furanoses or linear forms was found, unlike biological systems, where β-furanoses are found in RNA.