Cellulose is an organic compound, a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to over ten thousand β(1→4) linked D-glucose units. It is the structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants, many forms of algae, and the oomycetes. It is the most common organic compound on Earth. About 33% of all plant matter is cellulose. The cellulose content of cotton is 90%, for example, and that of wood is 40–50%. In China and South East Asia, people made use of hemp to make rope and cordage as early as 4500 BC. Around 4000 BC, cellulose was used as base material for garments; in the millennium after that were the first reports about spinning cotton in Egypt and India. Between 1837 and 1842, French agricultural chemist Anselme Payen — having isolated fibrous substance from different plants — determined that cellulose was a carbohydrate composed of glucose residues, and was isomeric to starch (44.4% C, 6.2% H). Today, cellulose is one of the world’s most widely used materials. It keeps us warm (in isolating material and clothing), increases and transfers knowledge (in paper and books), gives us movies and photographs, once eased the characterization of chemical reactions (in tin layer chromatography), and has recently been explored as a powerful biofuel.

Ljiljana Fruk’s and Bernd Lintermann’s Molecules that Changed the World is part of the publication Molecular Aesthetics, Peter Weibel, Ljiljana Fruk (eds.), published by ZKM | Karlsruhe and The MIT Press in 2013, see: https://shop.zkm.de/

Post time: Jun-21-2017
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