Difference Between Starch vs Glycogen

Difference Between Starch vs Glycogen

Biology is one of the most interesting subjects out there. As a biology student, your teacher will expose you to a number of fascinating things. One of the things you will certainly learn is the difference between glycogen and starch. Even though the two polymers have numerous similarities, we must not turn a blind eye to the fact that they have their differences.

Do you find it challenging to grasp this distinction? If so, you have absolutely nothing to worry about because this well-researched guide will explain all you need to know. At the end of the day, you will not need to conduct further research.

Definition of Starch

Starch is defined as a polymeric carbohydrate (polysaccharide) with many units that are joined by glycosidic bonds. It serves as an important source of a plant’s energy. It is the most common source of carbohydrates for humans because it exists in most staple foods. For instance, one can see it in cassava, wheat, rice, potatoes, etc. It has a white and powdery appearance and different densities. Additionally, it is odorless and tasteless.

It must be noted that starch granules are arranged in a structure known as amyloplasts. Also, the two types of starch are amylose and amylopectin. While it may vary from one plant to another, the content of starch ranges between 20% to 25% amylose.

One of the most common applications of starch is in the beverage industry. It is used for malting and brewing beer in this industry. However, this is only possible when it has been converted to sugar. Sure, sugar is an essential content of both beer and malt.

Definition of Glycogen

Glycogen is defined as the essential short-term storage method and quick-response energy source for fungi and animals. It includes alpha glucose, which is the monomer unit that plays a critical role in glycogen formulation.

The polymer of glucose is found in the small granules in the cell’s cytosol. To have a clear-cut understanding of the glycogen vs starch evaluation, it is good to discuss how you can source the former. It can be formed from eating foods like veggies, bread, and dairy products. The body makes and stores glycogen for later use.

Glycogen can be released as blood glucose. It is also critical for its metabolism to be regulated. When the human body has sufficient glucose, it works perfectly. Conversely, the body will experience unhealthy effects when it lacks this essential energy source. Given that glucose is one of the simplest carbohydrates, it is safe to classify it under monosaccharides (or monomer units).

Main Differences Between Starch vs Glycogen

At this point, we will use a simple table to explain the starch vs glycogen concept.

Basis of ComparisonGlycogenStarch
MeaningThis is the polymeric carbohydrate that is the essential short-term storage method and quick-response energy source for fungi and animals.This is a complex sugar of glucose (polysaccharide) that is stored as carbohydrates in plants.
Molecular formula C24H42O21(C6H10O5)n + H20
OccurrenceUsually occurs in the form of small granulesUsually occurs in the form of grain
FunctionServes as the method of storing carbohydrates in animals including humansServes as the method of storing carbohydrates in plants
Molar massThe molar mass is 666.5777 g/mole.The molar mass is not constant.
Solubility in waterGiven its highly branched nature, it is relatively soluble in water.While amylose is water soluble, amylopectin is not soluble in water.

Difference Between Starch and Glycogen: Conclusion

If you are still not sure about the differences, all you have to do is go through the table again. That said, we have just a little bit more to share.

It is noteworthy that both of them are two kinds of carbohydrates that exist in living cells. Furthermore, both serve as chemical energy sources and structural parts of the cells in which they exist.

In this short but informative read, you have seen all the major distinctions between the two energy sources. You are now ready to answer when anyone asks, “What is the difference between starch and glycogen?” Hopefully, this understanding has encouraged you to learn even more about biology in the future.