Learning Objective

Compare and contrast the structures and also uses that starch, glycogen, and also cellulose.

The polysaccharides space the most abundant carbohydrate in nature and serve a selection of functions, together as energy storage or as materials of plant cell walls. Polysaccharides are very huge polymers composed of tens to countless monosaccharides joined with each other by glycosidic linkages. The three most abundant polysaccharides space starch, glycogen, and cellulose. These 3 are referred to as homopolymers due to the fact that each yields just one type of monosaccharide (glucose) after complete hydrolysis. Heteropolymers might contain street acids, amino sugars, or noncarbohydrate building material in addition to monosaccharides. Heteropolymers are typical in nature (gums, pectins, and also other substances) but will no be debated further in this textbook. The polysaccharides space nonreducing carbohydrates, are not sweet tasting, and do no undergo mutarotation.

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Starch is the many important resource of carbohydrate in the person diet and also accounts for more than 50% of ours carbohydrate intake. It wake up in plants in the form of granules, and these are particularly abundant in seed (especially the cereal grains) and tubers, where they serve as a storage form of carbohydrates. The break down of strength to glucose nourishes the plant during periods of decreased photosynthetic activity. We often think the potatoes as a “starchy” food, yet various other plants contain a much better percentage of strength (potatoes 15%, wheat 55%, corn 65%, and also rice 75%). Commercial starch is a white powder.

Starch is a mixture of two polymers: amyloseA straight polymer the glucose units discovered in starch. And also amylopectinA branched polymer of glucose units found in starch.. Natural starches consist of around 10%–30% amylase and 70%–90% amylopectin. Amylose is a straight polysaccharide composed completely of D-glucose systems joined through the α-1,4-glycosidic linkages we observed in maltose (part (a) of number 16.9 "Amylose"). Experimental proof indicates the amylose is no a straight chain the glucose units however instead is coiled like a spring, with 6 glucose monomers per revolve (part (b) of figure 16.9 "Amylose"). Once coiled in this fashion, amylose has actually just sufficient room in its main point to accommodate an iodine molecule. The characteristic blue-violet color that appears when starch is treated through iodine is as result of the development of the amylose-iodine complex. This shade test is sensitive enough to detect also minute amounts of strength in solution.

Figure 16.9 Amylose


(a) Amylose is a straight chain the α-D-glucose devices joined with each other by α-1,4-glycosidic bonds. (b) because of hydrogen bonding, amylose repurchase a spiral structure that has six glucose units per turn.

Amylopectin is a branched-chain polysaccharide written of glucose units connected primarily by α-1,4-glycosidic bonds but with occasional α-1,6-glycosidic bonds, which space responsible because that the branching. A molecule that amylopectin might contain many thousands that glucose units v branch points occurring around every 25–30 devices (Figure 16.10 "Representation that the Branching in Amylopectin and Glycogen"). The helical framework of amylopectin is disrupted through the branching that the chain, so instead of the deep blue-violet shade amylose provides with iodine, amylopectin to produce a much less intense red brown.

Figure 16.10 representation of the Branching in Amylopectin and also Glycogen


Both amylopectin and glycogen contain branch points the are attached through α-1,6-linkages. This branch point out occur more often in glycogen.

Dextrins are glucose polysaccharides of intermediate size. The shine and stiffness imparted to clothes by strength are as result of the visibility of dextrins formed when garments is ironed. Because of your characteristic stickiness through wetting, dextrins are offered as adhesives on stamps, envelopes, and labels; as binders to organize pills and tablets together; and also as pastes. Dextrins are much more easily digested than starch and also are because of this used generally in the commercial preparation of child foods.

The complete hydrolysis of strength yields, in successive stages, glucose:

strength → dextrins → maltose → glucose

In the human body, number of enzymes known collectively as amylases degrade starch sequentially into usable glucose units.


Glycogen is the power reserve carbohydrate of animals. Nearly all mammalian cells contain part stored carbohydrate in the form of glycogen, but it is particularly abundant in the liver (4%–8% by load of tissue) and in bones muscle cell (0.5%–1.0%). Favor starch in plants, glycogen is uncovered as granules in liver and muscle cells. When fasting, pets draw on this glycogen reserves during the very first day without food to obtain the glucose necessary to maintain metabolic balance.


About 70% the the total glycogen in the body is save on computer in muscle cells. Although the percentage of glycogen (by weight) is higher in the liver, the much higher mass of bones muscle shop a greater total amount the glycogen.

Glycogen is structurally quite comparable to amylopectin, back glycogen is an ext highly branched (8–12 glucose units in between branches) and also the branches room shorter. Once treated through iodine, glycogen provides a red brown color. Glycogen deserve to be damaged down right into its D-glucose subunits by acid hydrolysis or by the exact same enzymes the catalyze the break down of starch. In animals, the enzyme phosphorylase catalyzes the failure of glycogen to phosphate esters the glucose.


Cellulose, a fibrous carbohydrate discovered in all plants, is the structural ingredient of plant cell walls. Because the planet is spanned with vegetation, cellulose is the many abundant of all carbohydrates, bookkeeping for end 50% of every the carbon discovered in the vegetable kingdom. Cotton fibrils and also filter paper are nearly entirely cellulose (about 95%), hardwood is around 50% cellulose, and the dry load of leaves is about 10%–20% cellulose. The largest use that cellulose is in the to produce of document and file products. Back the use of noncellulose man-made fibers is increasing, rayon (made native cellulose) and also cotton still account for over 70% the textile production.

Like amylose, cellulose is a direct polymer that glucose. That differs, however, in that the glucose units are joined by β-1,4-glycosidic linkages, creating a an ext extended framework than amylose (part (a) of figure 16.11 "Cellulose"). This excessive linearity enables a good deal that hydrogen bonding in between OH groups on nearby chains, causing them to pack very closely into fibers (part (b) of number 16.11 "Cellulose"). As a result, cellulose exhibits tiny interaction through water or any type of other solvent. Cotton and wood, for example, are fully insoluble in water and also have substantial mechanical strength. Since cellulose go not have a helical structure, the does no bind come iodine to type a fancy product.

Figure 16.11 Cellulose


(a) over there is comprehensive hydrogen bonding in the structure of cellulose. (b) In this electron micrograph of the cell wall of an alga, the wall surface consists of successive layers of cellulose yarn in parallel arrangement.

Cellulose returns D-glucose after complete acid hydrolysis, yet people are unable to metabolize cellulose as a source of glucose. Our digestive juices lack enzymes that can hydrolyze the β-glycosidic linkages found in cellulose, therefore although we can eat potatoes, us cannot eat grass. However, specific microorganisms deserve to digest cellulose since they make the enzyme cellulase, which catalyzes the hydrolysis of cellulose. The existence of this microorganisms in the cradle tracts the herbivorous animals (such as cows, horses, and also sheep) permits these animals to degrade the cellulose from tree material into glucose for energy. Termites also contain cellulase-secreting microorganisms and thus can subsist top top a lumber diet. This instance once again demonstrates the excessive stereospecificity the biochemical processes.

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Starch is the storage form of glucose (energy) in plants, if cellulose is a structural component of the plant cell wall.

Key Takeaways

starch is a storage kind of energy in plants. It includes two polymers written of glucose units: amylose (linear) and amylopectin (branched). Glycogen is a storage type of power in animals. It is a branched polymer created of glucose units. That is an ext highly branched 보다 amylopectin. Cellulose is a structure polymer that glucose units uncovered in plants. The is a direct polymer through the glucose units attached through β-1,4-glycosidic bonds.

What monosaccharide is derived from the hydrolysis of each carbohydrate?