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Difference Between Cellulose and Starch

Cellulose vs Starch

We need energy to keep our bodies going and two of the most common energy sources are cellulose and starch.

Cellulose
Cellulose is a polymer of glucose whose units can be rotated around the axis of a backbone of polymer chains of glucose units and are connected by beta linkages. It is the most common organic compound and it is a primary component of plant cells.

Although some form of cellulose can be safely eaten by humans like the outer shells of corn, the only animals that can digest cellulose are termites and cud-chewing cows, deer, or buffalo ,because they have certain enzymes that can break cellulose down into glucose.

Cellulose is strong and does not dissolve in water; in fact treating it in acids at high temperature is the only effective way to break it down into its glucose units. It is also tasteless and odorless.

It has many commercial uses and is the main component of paper and the fiber used in the making of clothing like cotton and linen. Cellophane and rayon are also derived from cellulose by dissolving pulp through viscose, by allowing it to age then treating it to cellulose xanthate then dissolving it in caustic soda.

Starch
Starch is a polymer of glucose wherein all the repeat units are directed in one direction and are connected by alpha linkages. Starch is edible and can be safely eaten by humans because we have the enzymes that can break it down into glucose.

It is a carbohydrate and people get their supply of starch and carbohydrates from potatoes, wheat, corn, and rice. When these foods get into our bodies, they are broken down into glucose and used as a source of energy and as an aid in metabolism.

Starch is weaker than cellulose and is less crystalline. Although raw starch is not soluble in cold water, it can be dissolved in warm water and can be used in a variety of ways.

It is most commonly used as food but it also has other uses. It can be used as glue, in stiffening clothes and weaving linen, to thicken sauces, and in the treatment of paper.

Summary
1. Cellulose is a polymer of glucose whose units can be rotated around the axis of a backbone of polymer chains of glucose units while starch is a polymer of glucose wherein all the repeat units are directed in one direction.
2. The glucose units in starch are connected by alpha linkages while the glucose units of cellulose are connected by beta linkages.
3. Starch is fit for human consumption while cellulose is not.
4. Starch is soluble in water while cellulose cannot be dissolved in water.
5. Cellulose is stronger than starch.
6. Cellulose is more crystalline than starch.
7. The main function of starch is as food and supplying the body with energy and helps in its proper metabolism while cellulose has a more significant use in the clothing industry and in the production of important materials like cellophane and rayon.


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