/ stɑːrtʃ /
ETYM From starch stiff, cf. German stärke, from stark strong.
Widely distributed, high-molecular-mass carbohydrate, produced by plants as a food store; main dietary sources are cereals, legumes, and tubers, including potatoes. It consists of varying proportions of two glucose polymers (polysaccharides): straight-chain (amylose) and branched (amylopectin) molecules.
Purified starch is a white powder used to stiffen textiles and paper and as a raw material for making various chemicals. It is used in the food industry as a thickening agent. Chemical treatment of starch gives rise to a range of “modified starches” with varying properties. Hydrolysis (splitting) of starch by acid or enzymes generates a variety of “glucose syrups” or “liquid glucose” for use in the food industry. Complete hydrolysis of starch with acid generates the monosaccharide glucose only. Incomplete hydrolysis or enzymic hydrolysis yields a mixture of glucose, maltose and non-hydrolyzed fractions called dextrins.
A link was identified 1994 between a diet low in starch and cancer of the colon.
1. A feculent contained various plants, being a store of energy.
2. A solution made with this feculent and used to stiffen fabric.
A complex carbohydrate found chiefly in seeds, fruits, tubers, roots and stem pith of plants, notably in corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice; an important foodstuff and used otherwise especially in adhesives and as fillers for paper.