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Outline the Use, Structure and Function of Starch, Glycogen and Cellulose in Living Organisms.

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  • Essay length: 1337 words
  • Submitted: 12/12/2003
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AS and A Level Exchange, Transport & Reproduction

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Outline the Use, Structure and Function of Starch, Glycogen and Cellulose in Living Organisms

Carbohydrates are compounds that consist of carbon (carbo-), hydrogen and oxygen (-hydrate) atoms. They have the general molecular formula of CH20 and thus were once thought to represent "hydrated carbon". However, the arrangement of atoms in carbohydrates has little to do with water molecules.

When the terms "simple sugars" and "complex carbohydrates" are used, it seems as though there is a vast difference between carbohydrates and sugar. However when looking through various textbooks, we see that the terms "simple sugars" and "simple carbohydrates" are actually used interchangeably. The same is found for the terms "complex sugars" and "complex carbohydrates."

Biochemically, carbohydrates are made up of simple sugar units. A simple carbohydrate is one that consists of one simple sugar unit and a complex carbohydrate consists of a combination of simple sugar units.

Starch, glycogen and cellulose are three common carbohydrates. All have molecular weights in the hundreds of thousands and are all polymers (as they are "polysaccharides").

Polysaccharides are polymers of monosaccharides that are glycosidically bonded by condensation. This means that when the bond is formed between two neighbouring

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