Starch

Starch is important because we eat it! Starch is found in potatoes, and in grains such as corn and wheat. Starch is made up of glucose repeat units.


Click on the glucose to see it in 3-D.

In your body, special proteins called enzymes (which are also polymers, by the way) break starch down into glucose, so your body can burn it for energy. If you're eating a healthy diet, you get most of your energy from starch in this way.

Because it is made of sugar molecules it is called a polysaccharide. It is very similar to cellulose. To see just how the two are different, click here.

Starch has a few other uses other than food. It's used in pressing clothes to keep them from wrinkling. It's also used to make a foam packing. Starch is biodegradable, so starch foam packing is an environmentally-friendly alternative to styrofoam packing. But be careful! Entropy, the black labrador retriever on the right, likes to eat starch packing, so don't turn your back on her if you've got a box of it around!



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