Complex oxygen-containing organic compound, a mixture of polymers of poorly known structure. After cellulose, it is the most abundant organic material on Earth, making up one-fourth to one-third of the dry weight of wood, where it is concentrated in the cell walls. Removed from wood pulp in the manufacture of paper, it is used as a binder in particleboard and similar products and as a soil conditioner, filler in certain plastics, adhesive ingredient, and raw material for chemicals including dimethyl sulfoxide and vanillin (synthetic vanilla flavouring).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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