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noun, plural: starches

A polysaccharide carbohydrate (C6H10O5)n consisting of a large number of glucose monosaccharide units joined together by glycosidic bonds found especially in seeds, bulbs, and tubers.


All plant seeds and tubers contain starch which is predominantly present as amylose and amylopectin. Plants use starch as a way to store excess glucose, and thus also use starch as food during mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Animals do not store excess glucose as starch; they store them as glycogen.

Starch has many commercial uses, such as in papermaking, as a food, in the production of commercial grape sugar, for stiffening linen in laundries, in making paste, in printing industry, in hydrogen production, etc.

Word origin: Old English stearc (“stark, strong, rough”).

Related terms: animal starch, starch gum.

Compare: glycogen.
See also: carbohydrate.

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