Starch, cellulose and fibres

Starch, cellulose and fibres

Starch is the main energy storage material in plants, cells get energy from glucose. Plants store excess glucose a starch.

Starch is a mixture of two polysaccharides, these are Amylose which is a long unbranching polysaccharide. It is a coiled structure, making it compact, so it is good for storage. Amylopectin is the other, it is a long branched chain of a glucose. It side branches allow for a quick release of glucose.

Cellulose is made of long unbranched cains of Beta-glucose and is joined by glycosidic bonds. The glycosidic bonds are straight so cellulose molecules are straight. Between 50-80 cellulose chains are linked together by a large number of hydrogen bonds.

Plant fibres are made up of long tubes of plant cells, they are strong which makes them good for rope, this is due to a number of reasons, the arrangement of cellulose mircrofibrils in the cell wall, which is like an net arrangement. And  also the secondary thickening of the cell wall.

Plant fibres and starch can be used to control sustainability. Plant fibres can be used to make rope, and fabrics. These used to be made from oil which is not a renewable source. Plant fibres are renewable due to them being able to be planted and re-grown, this will maintain supply. Also materials made from plant fibres are biodegradable, as they can be broken down by microbes, but most oil products can’t!  Plants are also easier to grow and process.

Starch is found in all plants, such as potatoes and corn,  materials which are usually made from plastics can be made from starch, these are called bio plastics. This makes the product more sustainable. You can also make vehicle fuel from starch, called bio ethanol.

Plants need water and inorganic ions, they need these for a number of different functions. They are absorbed through the roots and travel up the plant xylem. If there isn’t enough water or inorganic ions then the plants will show deficiency symptoms.