Friday 1 June 2012

What is Cellulose?

Ok, so I cheated a bit with the title here, as none of my children have directly asked me what cellulose is. However, a little while ago I wrote a post called Why are Apples Crunchy? and I wasn't entirely satisfied with the answer I gave Garden Girl. A friend of mine, having read this post, came to my assistance and I was able to tell Garden Girl that apples are crunchy because they contain cellulose.

All plants and animals are made up of a bunch of cells. People are made up of millions of cells. When these cells are all bundled together they make a person, or a plant. They are a little bit like lego pieces, in that when they are fixed together they can make lots of different things. Cells are very clever because they can do lots of things, such as taking in all the good stuff we eat and turning it into energy. so we can run about. Plant cells do things like absorbing sunlight so a plant can grow and they give leaves their shape.

Cellulose, is the thing that makes cells rigid (hard). Plant cells have a wall around them and this wall has cellulose in it. The cellulose on the wall makes it hard and crunchy. The crunchier the vegetable or fruit, the more cellulose there is in the cell wall. So apples are crunchier than bananas because they contain more cellulose.

If you want to learn more about cellulose my friend found a really useful link on the website, here.

And, to find out more about cells, have a look here.