—cellulosity /sel'yeuh los"i tee/, n./sel"yeuh lohs'/, n.an inert carbohydrate, (C6H10O5)n, the chief constituent of the cell walls of plants and of wood, cotton, hemp, paper, etc.[1745-55; < NL cellul(a) live cell (see CELLULAR) + -OSE2]
* * *Complex carbohydrate (polysaccharide) consisting of 1,000–3,000 or more glucose units in a linear chain structure that can pack into fibres of great tensile strength.The basic structural component of plant cell walls, cellulose is the most abundant of all naturally occurring organic compounds (90% of cotton and 50% of wood). Mammals (including humans) cannot digest cellulose, but bacteria in the rumens of cattle and other ruminants and protozoans in the gut of termites produce enzymes that can break it down. Soil fungi can also break down cellulose. Its most important uses are in wood, paper, and fibre products, as an ethanol and methanol source, and specialized applications. Cellulose derivatives are used in plastics, photographic films, rayon fibres, cellophane, coatings, explosives (e.g., nitrocellulose), and foods (e.g., the stabilizer and thickener carboxymethylcellulose).
* * *▪ plant cell structurea complex carbohydrate, or polysaccharide, consisting of 3,000 or more glucose units. The basic structural component of plant cell walls, cellulose comprises about 33 percent of all vegetable matter (90 percent of cotton and 50 percent of wood are cellulose) and is the most abundant of all naturally occurring organic compounds. Nondigestible by man, cellulose is a food for herbivorous animals (e.g., cows, horses) because they retain it long enough for digestion by microorganisms present in the alimentary tract; protozoans in the gut of insects such as termites also digest cellulose. Of great economic importance, cellulose is processed to produce papers and fibres and is chemically modified to yield substances used in the manufacture of such items as plastics, photographic films, and rayon. Other cellulose derivatives are used as adhesives, explosives, thickening agents for foods, and in moisture-proof coatings.
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