Cellulose in Plants: Function & Structure

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Dicotyledon Plants: Examples & Definition

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Building Blocks of Life
  • 0:26 Structure
  • 1:16 Function
  • 2:16 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Friedl

Sarah has two Master's, one in Zoology and one in GIS, a Bachelor's in Biology, and has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

All plants make the molecule cellulose. Not only is there more cellulose than any other organic molecule on Earth, but its unique structure lends itself to a wide variety of functions and products.

Building Blocks of Life

Plants may look very different on the outside, but if you take a closer look on the inside, all plants have some things in common. Plants are all made of polysaccharides, a very large sugar molecule made of hundreds or thousands of single sugar units. Four common polysaccharides found in nature are starch, glycogen, chitin, and cellulose.

Structure

Cellulose is a very important polysaccharide because it is the most abundant organic compound on Earth. Cellulose is a major component of tough cell walls that surround plant cells, and it's what makes plant stems, leaves, and branches so strong. Next time you eat a salad, think about how much you have to chew it in order to be able to swallow all that plant material. It certainly takes a lot of work, and this is due in part to the structure of cellulose.

Imagine a bunch of long, thick ropes stuck together. This is very much what cellulose is like, but on a microscopic scale. Cellulose molecules are arranged parallel to each other and are joined together with hydrogen bonds. This forms long, cable-like structures, which combine with other cellulose molecules and is what produces such a strong support structure.

cellulose

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support