Structure of Cellulose and Amylose

Shown below are 3-dimensional representations of cellulose and starch. Notice that the cellulose structure, which contains beta-1,4 linkages is approximately linear. Amylose (starch) contains alpha-1,4 linkages and is much more 'curved'.

Cellulose Cellulose - Another view Amylose - A simple starch

Source and Function of complex carbohydrates

The following table summarizes the important structural features of cellulose and different forms of starch.

Compound Structure Function/Source
Cellulose Beta-1,4 Structural component of plants
Amylose Alpha-1,4 Fuel storage in plants
Amylopectin Alpha-1,4 and Alpha-1,6 Fuel storage in plants
Glycogen Alpha-1,4 and Alpha-1,6 Fuel storage in animals and people