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Any of several white, granular organic compounds produced by all green plants. They are polysaccharides with the general chemical formula (CHO), where n may range from 100 to several thousand; the constituent monosaccharides are glucose units made in photosynthesis. The glucose chains are unbranched in amylose and branched in amylopectin, which occur mixed in starches. Starch consumed by animals is broken down into glucose by enzymes during digestion. Commercial starch is made mainly from corn, though wheat, tapioca, rice, and potato starch are also used. Starch has many uses in foods and the food industry, as well as in the paper, textile, and personal-care products industries and in adhesives, explosives, and oil-well drilling fluids and as a mold-release agent. Animal starch is another name for glycogen. See alsocarbohydrate.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on starch, visit Britannica.com.