Plants use cellulose to make their stems and branches and leaves strong. Cotton fibers are even found in some fancy kinds of paper, and that makes the paper feel more cloth-like.Cellulose makes tree trunks strong enough to hold up the tallest trees! Let's find out by looking at what the polymer chains are like.
There are other natural polymers made up of amino acids (proteins) and nucleic acids (RNA and DNA).
To learn more about other polymers made by nature, click here.
But when you add up a whole bunch of them on a long polymer chain, they make the material very stiff and strong! One way to see why this is involves looking at the molecular structure.
Click on the image below to see one way that cellulose chains can form hydrogen bonds. Notice how straight and regular its shape is, especially in the 3-D model above.
The compound was first chemically synthesized (without the use of any biologically derived enzymes) in 1992, by Kobayashi and Shoda.-glucose units, which condense through β(1→4)-glycosidic bonds.
This linkage motif contrasts with that for α(1→4)-glycosidic bonds present in starch and glycogen. Unlike starch, no coiling or branching occurs and the molecule adopts an extended and rather stiff rod-like conformation, aided by the equatorial conformation of the glucose residues.In the old days of movies it was often called celluloid, and this name is still used to refer to movie film, even though a lot of the release prints for movies are now made of more durable polyester.Cellulose acetate is also used to make fibers for acetate fabric.The new rayon - made from cellulose xanthate - is much safer and less flammable than the old stuff.Rayon is pretty popular for fabric because it has a lot of the qualities of natural plant fibers. The cotton-ball part of the cotton plant has a of cellulose. Thanks to cellulose, cotton fibers can be twisted into thread and woven into cloth.When the chains lie next to each other, there are -OH groups in-between the chains. There are three -OH groups attached to each ring, and they can act like little magnets for each other.Not only is cellulose everywhere in nature, it was also used to make some of the first synthetic polymers like cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate, and rayon.Forms of these polymers are still made and used today.In human nutrition, cellulose is a non-digestible constituent of insoluble dietary fiber, acting as a hydrophilic bulking agent for feces and potentially aiding in defecation.Cellulose was used to produce the first successful thermoplastic polymer, celluloid, by Hyatt Manufacturing Company in 1870.