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Carbohydrates play a large part in the lives of all living things; there are many different types of carbohydrates, all with their own individual structures and functions.

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Carbohydrates play a large part in the lives of all living things; there are many different types of carbohydrates, all with their own individual structures and functions. I am going to look at three specific carbohydrates and compare their structures and functions. The three carbohydrates I am going to examine are cellulose, glycogen and starch. Cellulose is the most common biological molecule, it is a structural polysaccharide, and consists of glucose molecules. Unlike starch cellulose cannot be digested by humans and most animals, but it has an important function as dietary fibre in our diet. Cellulose has a structural function, it forms cellular walls in plants and is therefore present in all plant tissues, with out it plants would not have a stable structure, and would not be able to stand up right. ...read more.


Starch is a polysaccharide, which consists of alpha-D-glucose molecules, it is used by plants to store energy, and is digested when the need for energy arises, e.g., when a seed germinates, it may also be digested by humans and most animals. The reason behind plants using starch, instead of glycogen as their energy source is simple, if glucose remained in the state that it is in immediately after photosynthesis and is stored solely as glucose, it may result in the cells exploding. The reason for this is that glucose is highly soluble, therefore if stored in a cell osmosis would take place, causing the chloroplasts to take in water and explode. ...read more.


The glycogen molecule has a much more complicated structure than that of both the cellulose and starch molecule; it is in no way similar to either molecule. The functions of glycogen and starch are very similar; they both store energy, but are each suited to their specific organism. Both molecules are easily broken down, to gain a quick energy supply, although they don't have similar structures. Cellulose is not related to the functions of either starch, nor glycogen, its main purpose does not involve energy, but instead it involves structure and support. Although all different in many ways, all three of the carbohydrates I have examined have proved to be very important to the organism they are designed to work in. Without them life for the organism would be very different. ...read more.

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