Barkalow, David G. Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
Whistler, Roy L. Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.
Last reviewed:August 2019
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A linear polymer of (1→4)-linked β-d-glucopyranosyl units, and the most abundant of all naturally occurring substances. Cellulose is the main polysaccharide in living plants, forming the skeletal structure of the plant cell wall. Cellulose constitutes approximately a third of all vegetable matter; thus, it exists in far greater quantity than any other polysaccharide. It occurs as a principal structural component of the cell walls of mosses and seaweeds (25–30%), annual plants (25–35%), and trees (40–50%). As one example, cotton fiber (Fig. 1) contains 98% cellulose, along with 1% protein, 0.65% pectic substance, and 0.15% mineral matter. Cellulose also is produced by some microorganisms; in a few cases, it reaches amounts of 20–30%. See also: Biomass; Cell walls (plant); Plant cell; Polymer; Polysaccharide
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