Functional Differences between Starch and Cellulose

Functional Differences between Starch and Cellulose

Starch and cellulose are almost two similar substances, and Glucose is contained in both Starch and Cellulose

Both items have similar monomer, and they are different as polymers. From this article, you will be able to know about the differences between starch and cellulose. The basics we have described here are- definition, forms, linkage, strength, applications, molar mass, dissolve in water, chain, tensile strength, crystalline, resistance in deformation.

Starch is a polymer of alpha D-Glucose. It is a tasty and odorless powder that is the main carbohydrate source of plants. On the other hand, cellulose is a polymer of beta D-Glucose. It is the core structural component of the plant’s cell wall.


1. Starch stays in the form of grain through alpha linkages while cellulose stays in the form of fiber

Linkage plays a very important role in the structure of starch and cellulose. For starch, alpha D-Glucose monomers are connected through alpha linkages. And for cellulose, beta D-Glucose monomers are connected through beta linkages. Starch stays in the form of grain, and cellulose stays in the form of fiber.

2. Cellulose is harnessed in making fibers, but starch is not

Cellulose is good at making fibers. So, we use it making rope, clothes, cotton, paper, and paperboard, etc. We use starch in making biofuel, beer, whiskey, etc. Cellulose is stronger than starch. Basically, we don’t use starch as much as we use cellulose industrially

3. Starch has a varying Molar mass

The molar mass of starch varies in different circumstances. But the molar mass of cellulose is constant- 162.1406 g/mol.

4. Cellulose does not dissolve in water, but starch does

Starch dissolves in water. It easily breaks down in the water because of its structure, whereas cellulose does not break down in the water. Otherwise, that will be too inappropriate using it in making clothes, houses, a little playground, etc. If the rain comes, houses, park benches will wash away if cellulose dissolves in water.

5. The chain of starch is coiled

Starch and cellulose both are an unbranched chain. But where the difference lies is starch is a coiled chain whereas cellulose is a long, straight chain. Because of the structure of the chain, it makes the cellulose stronger.

6. Cellulose possesses more Tensile strength

Cellulose has a high tensile strength, which makes it more durable than starch. And clearly, starch has low tensile strength and is less durable.

7. Cellulose possesses more resistance in deformation

Cellulose is a very crystalline compound, and it is far more crystalline than starch. With this, cellulose is more resistant during deformation. More so, this comes to bear because of the arrangement of the chain. As for cellulose, the chain is long and straight. The Integrity of cellulose can change only at 320 °C or above. On the other hand, starch is very weak in the case of deformation as it is less crystalline. Its chain is arranged as a coil. So, starch easily deforms between 60 to 70 °C.

These were some of the prime differences between starch and cellulose. Although there are differences in structure and functions between starch and cellulose, both the compounds are important in our everyday life.

From research, starch is a low crystalline compound; hence, cellulose is more crystalline than starch.

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