Difference between glycogen and starch

Difference between glycogen and starch

Glycogen vs Starch

Our body needs energy to keep us going. If we lack energy, we feel weak and our organs are unable to function properly. Without it, we cannot move and even do the most basic things like walking or eating. To meet the energy needs of our body, we must obtain a substantial supply of sugar or glucose, which is the source of energy for our cells.

Glucose or sugar can be obtained from starch. We get the starch from plants and animals. Organs in our body like the liver, stomach and muscles are naturally capable of producing animal starch glycogen, but we get most of our sugar from starch produced by plants such as potato, wheat and rice.

Once we take in starch, our body transforms it into carbohydrates made up of molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The carbohydrates are then stored in our cells to be used when we need energy to do things.

Below are some facts about glycogen and starch to better understand how they are used by cells in the body for the production of energy that we need.

Glycogen

Glycogen is a molecule produced by the liver, muscles, brain, uterus (in pregnant women) and stomach, which is the secondary energy storage in animal cells. It is often referred to as animal starch and plays an important role in the glucose cycle. It helps cells store glucose by providing them with a constant supply of energy.

The energy store formed by glycogen can be quickly used up when there is a sudden need for glucose and only the glycogen produced in the liver is accessible to other organs in the body. Other organs can get their glucose from the food we eat.

The amount of glycogen stored in the body depends on a person’s physical health, basal metabolic rate, and diet. Our need for energy is the reason starch is a staple in our diet.

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Starch

Starch is a carbohydrate produced by all green plants that contains a large number of units of glucose that are used to store energy. Plants such as potato, wheat, corn, rice, and cassava are all high in this type of carbohydrate that is needed by humans.

Starch contains 20-25% amylase and 75-80% amylopectin molecules. It is transformed into sugar which is an important ingredient in the human diet. It can also be used as a thickening and stiffening agent or as an adhesive.

People from different cultures used starch in different ways. The ancient Romans used it for cosmetic purposes, the ancient Egyptians used it for weaving and gluing papyrus, and it was used in China to process paper. However, it is most often used in food, as an important source of energy.

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Summary

  1. Glycogen is made up of one molecule while starch is made up of two.
  2. Although both are polymers of glucose, glycogen is produced by animals and is called animal starch, while starch is produced by plants.
  3. Glycogen has a branched structure whereas starch has both chain and branching components.

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