Q:

What are the differences between amylose and cellulose?

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Quick Answer

Cellulose and amylose are both important organic molecules produced by plants, but cellulose is mainly used to serve a structural role. Amylose is used to store sugar that is produced via photosynthesis.

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Full Answer

Cellulose is the principle component of a distinctive feature of plant cells, the cell wall. Cell walls keep plant cells stiff and allow a plant to grow tall and have access to sunlight even in crowded conditions like a forest floor. Cellulose bound in another organic molecule called ligin is what makes wood from trees so strong.

Amylose is a principle component of starch. It makes up about 30 percent of starch by weight. It has an extended molecular structure that tends to bind water, making it excellent for forming gels. The other component of starch, amylopectin, is also absorbent, but when it absorbs water it tends to swell rather than thicken the solution. Both molecules are used to store sugar inside plant vacuoles for when sunlight is not as readily available.

Both cellulose and amylose are complex carbohydrates. In cellulose, the carbohydrate chains are arranged in a criss-cross mesh of long molecules like beams inside a steel building. Amylose forms long unbranched chains that tend to twist into stiff helixes. Both molecules can be used as food sources, but humans lack the proper enzymes to break down cellulose. Other animals, including termites, are able to consume the cellulose carbohydrate.

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    What is the difference between amylose, amylopectin and glycogen?

    A:

    Amylose is a glucose polymer with long chain-like molecules, while amylopectin consists of larger highly branched molecules (1 to 6). Glycogen consists of even more branches than amylopectin. Amylose and amylopectin are classified as starch, and are found in plants, while glycogen serves as the main energy reserve for animals.

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    Why do we need cellulose in our diet?

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    What is the function of cellulose?

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    Cellulose makes up most of the tough cell walls surrounding plant cells and enables plants to stand upright, according to Education Portal. It is the major component of plants that makes the branches, stems and leaves very strong.

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    What is cellulose gum?

    A:

    Cellulose gum is a common thickening agent made from the cell wall of plants and wood used in many modern foods. The substance is found in a variety of food products, ranging from breads to dairy items. Food manufacturers like it for its texture, protein stabilization and moisture retention.

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