Describe the structure of cellulose and identify it as an example of a condensation polymer found as a major component of biomass

  • Cellulose is a polymer that exists in the form of chains made up of many glucose monomers.
  • Chains consist of several hundred to several thousand monomers
  • The many polar hydroxy groups that exist along cellulose chains form hydrogen bonds with those on adjacent chains.
  • The bonding causes bundling of cellulose chains which results in the great length and strength of cellulose fibres.
  • The reduced availability of hydroxy groups due to their involvement in hydrogen bonding makes cellulose insoluble and reasonably resistant to chemical attack.
  • Biopolymer: A polymer that is made totally or in large part by living organisms.
  • Cellulose is a biopolymer, and forms the main structural component of plant cell walls.
  • Biomass: Material produced by living organisms.
  • Normal dry plant matter (which forms a large proportion of the earth’s biomass) consists of about 50% cellulose, and plants on earth produce approximately 500 billion tonnes of the substance each year.

A section of a cellulose chain

Easychem - Cellulose