Cellulose is an organic compound with the formula (C6H10O5)n, a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to over ten thousand β(1→4) linked D-glucose units.
Cellulose is the structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants, many forms of algae and the oomycetes. Some species of bacteria secrete it to form biofilms. Cellulose is the most common organic compound on Earth. About 33% of all plant matter is cellulose (the cellulose content of cotton is 90% and that of wood is 40–50%).
For industrial use, cellulose is mainly obtained from wood pulp and cotton. It is mainly used to produce paperboard and paper; to a smaller extent it is converted into a wide variety of derivative products such as cellophane and rayon. Converting cellulose from energy crops into biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol is under investigation as an alternative fuel source.
Some animals, particularly ruminants and termites, can digest cellulose with the help of symbiotic micro-organisms that live in their guts. Humans can digest cellulose to some extent, however it is often referred to as 'dietary fiber' or 'roughage' (e.g. outer shell of maize) and acts as a hydrophilic bulking agent for feces.
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