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What are Amylose and Amylopectin?

Uses of Amylose (C6H10O5)n

Amylose is a type of polysaccharide which is used in several industries in the form of a functional biomaterial. It is typically a linear component which consists of 100-10,000 glucose monomers that are linked by 1,4 alpha bindings. Amylose was discovered back in the year 1940 by Meyer and his co-workers found out that the properties of amylose were way different from those of the native maize starch. Amylose is found in algae and many other lower forms of plants. It is a type of spread polymer of roughly 6000 glucose deposits which has branches on 1 in each of the 24 glucose rings.


Today, in this article, we will learn about what is amylose and amylopectin, what are the uses of amylose (C6H10O5)n, what is the function of amylose, its structure and properties.


Amylose Structure (C6H10O5)n

Given below is the structure of amylose.


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Let us take a look at what are the physical properties of amylose.


Physical Properties of Amylose (C6H10O5)n

IUPAC name

(1→4)-α-D-Glucopyranan

Formula of amylose

(C6H10O5)n

Density 

1.25 g/mL

Molecular Weight or Molecular Mass

Variable

Boiling point

627.7 ± 55.0 °C at 760 mmHg

Bond type

α glycosidic bonds

Chemical formula

Variable since it is a polymer

Odour 

Unpleasant 

Appearance 

White powder

Surface tension

74.4 ± 5.0 dyne/cm

Solubility 

Insoluble in water


Chemical Properties of Amylose (C6H10O5)n

Let us now learn about the chemical properties of amylose.

  1. Amylose tends to form a distinctive blue colour complex along with iodine. This analysis is provided by the high-performance size-exclusion technique of chromatography and many other methods.

  2. Amylose molecules tend to form extensive hydrogen bonds which make the molecules less susceptible to the enzymatic degradation.

Uses of Amylose (C6H10O5)n

Now let us take a look at what is amylose used for. Its uses are described as follows.

  1. Amylose is used in the permanent textile finishes, film making, plastics, and bonding of paper pulp fibre.

  2. Higher amylose starches are used together along with food gum or an instant starch as a binder which helps in providing a crisp coating while making french fries which, in turn, also reduces the oil absorption.

  3. It is also used as starches for food wrappers and sausage casings, incorporation into pasta and bread crusts for even heating in the microwave.

Function of Amylose (C6H10O5)n

Let us now discuss what is the function of amylose.

Amylose plays an important role in plant energy storage. It is, however, less readily digested than amylopectin. This is because of its helical structure which makes it take up less space when compared to amylopectin. Due to this, it is the preferred starch for plant storage. It makes up around 30% of the total stored starch in plants, although a typical percentage tends to vary by species and variety.

The digestive enzyme called α-amylase breaks down the starch molecule into maltose and maltotriose which are used as sources of energy.

Amylose also makes for an important thickener, emulsion stabilizer, water binder, and gelling agent in regards to both industrial and food contexts.


There are many different foods that contain amylose which we consume on a day to day basis. These are as follows.

  1. Rice and potatoes

  2. Legumes and beans

  3. Vegetables and starchy fruits

  4. Whole grains

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Difference Between the Compounds Amylose and Amylopectin?

Ans: The difference between the compounds amylose and amylopectin is as follows.


Amylose is a type of polysaccharide which is made up of many D-glucose units. These are linked by the 1,4-glycosidic bonds. When iodine gets added to the starch, the colour tends to change to darker blue or black due to the presence of amylose which is present in the starch. Amylose is water-soluble and can be easily hydrolyzed into the glucose units with the help of the enzymes called as α- amylase and β-amylase.


Amylopectin is a type of a polymer of many D-glucose molecules. 80% of the amylopectin is a constituent in starch. The amylopectin molecules are linked by the α-1,4-glycosidic bonds and α-1,6-glycosidic bonds. When iodine gets added to the starch, it tends to give a reddish-brown appearance because of the presence of amylopectin. It also readily tends to dissolve in hot water. When cooled, it forms a starch gel or a starch paste.

2. What is Amylase?

Ans: An amylase is an enzyme which tends to catalyse the hydrolysis of starch into sugars. Amylase is a constituent in the saliva of humans and many other mammals, in which it tends to begin the chemical process of digestion. Foods which contain higher amounts of starch but a little sugar, for example, rice and potatoes, might have a slightly sweet taste as we chew them since amylase tends to degrade some of the starch into sugar. The pancreas and salivary glands in our body make alpha-amylase to hydrolyse dietary starch and then into disaccharides and trisaccharides. These are then converted by several other enzymes into glucose for supplying our body with energy. Plants and some of the bacteria also tend to produce amylase.

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