Cellulose (C₆H₁₀O₅)n

Cellulose (C₆H₁₀O₅)n

The building material of the cell walls and fibers of plants.



cellulose, cellulose molecule, fiber, carbohydrate, polysaccharide, cellobiose, plant cell wall, hydrogen bond, organic chemistry, chemistry

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Cellulose (C₆H₁₀O₅)n


Cellulose is a polysaccharide. It is insoluble in water and other solvents. It is non-reducing. It can be broken down into its constituent glucose units when treated with concentrated acids at a high temperature, or into cellobiose unity by weak acid hydrolisis. Several thousand beta-D-glucose components are linked in the cellulose molecule by 1,4-bonds. Molecules in the chain are at a 180° angle in relation to each other. As a result, long filaments, or strands, are formed.

The configuration is stabilized by hydrogen bonds within the chain. Hydrogen bonds also form between the molecules, stabilizing the parallel structure of the chains. Batches of parallel cellulose chains are called cellulose fibers.

Occurrence and production

Cellulose is found in the fibers and cell walls of plants. Its purest form is found in cotton threads. A tree contains around 50% cellulose.

Humans are not able to digest cellulose, but fibers are important for the appropriate functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. Ruminants, such as cattle, can digest cellulose. Cellulose is produced from wood, reed, straw, corn or sunflower stems by a special process.


Cellulose is used in the production of paper, textile, plastics and explosives.

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Beta-D-glucose (C₆H₁₂O₆)

One of the stereoisomers of D-glucose.

Cellobiose (C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁)

Cellobiose is the basic structural unit of cellulose.

Alpha-D-glucose (C₆H₁₂O₆)

Alpha-D-glucose is one of the stereoisomers of glucoses, specifically the D-glucoses.

Amylose ((C₆H₁₀O₅)n)

A helical molecule consisting of alpha-D-glucose units. It is one of the basic components of starch.

Beta-D-fructose (fruit sugar) (C₆H₁₂O₆)

Fructose is the sweetest of the simple carbohydrates.

D-glucose (dextrose) (C₆H₁₂O₆)

The primary source of energy for living cells.


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Lactose (C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁)

A type of sugar found in mammalian milk.


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Saccharose (sucrose) (C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁)

A white, water-soluble, sweet compound known as sugar.

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Maltose (malt sugar) (C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁)

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