Cellulose vs Cellulase
When ten or higher number of monosaccharides is joined by glycosidic bonds, they are known as polysaccharides. They are also known as glycans. There chemical formula is Cx(H2O)y. Polysaccharides are polymers and, therefore, have a larger molecular weight, typically more than 10000. Monosaccharide is the monomer of this polymer. There can be polysaccharides made out of a single monosaccharide and these are known as homopolysaccharides. These can be also classified based on the type of monosaccharide. For example, if the monosaccharide is glucose, then the monomeric unit is called a glucan. Polysaccharides made out of more than one type of monosaccharide are known as heteropolysaccharides. Polysaccharides can be liners molecules with 1,4-glycosidc bonds. They also can form branched molecules. At the branching points, 1,6- glycosdic bonds are forming. There is a wide variety of polysaccharides. Starch, cellulose, and glycogen are some of the polysaccharides we are familiar with.
Proteins are one of the most important types of macromolecules in living organisms. All the enzymes are proteins. Enzymes are the main molecules which control all the metabolic activities. They act as catalysts to speed up the metabolic reactions in our bodies. Enzymes present in humans, animals and micro organisms vary. There are large numbers of enzymes in biological systems, and cellulase is one of them.
Cellulose is a polysaccharide, which is made out of glucose. 3000 glucose molecules or more than that can be joined together when forming cellulose. Unlike other polysaccharides, in cellulose, glucose units are bonded together by β(1→4) glycosidic bonds. Cellulose doesn’t branch, and it is a straight chain polymer, but due to the hydrogen bonds between molecules it can form very rigid fibers. Like many other polysaccharides, cellulose is insoluble in water. Cellulose is abundant in the cell walls of green plants and in algae. It gives strength and rigidity to plant cells. This cell wall is permeable to any substance; therefore, it allows passing materials in and out of the cell. Therefore, this is the most common carbohydrate on earth. Cellulose is used to make paper and other useful derivatives. It is further used to produce bio-fuels.
Human cannot digest cellulose because we don’t have necessary enzymes for that. Cellulolysis is the process of breaking cellulose. Since they are made of glucose molecules, cellulose can be broken down into glucose by hydrolysis. First, the last molecule is broken down into smaller polysaccharides, which are known as cellodextrins. Finally, these are broken down to glucose. Though humans cannot digest cellulose, some mammals like cows, sheeps, goats, and horses can digest cellulose. These animals are known as ruminants. They have this capability due to a bacteria living in their digestive tract. These symbiotic bacteria posses enzymes to break down cellulose by anaerobic metabolism. These enzymes are known as cellulases. Further cellulase enzymes are produced by fungi and protozoans, to catalyze cellulolysis. Five types of cellulases are there in this class of enzymes. Endocellulase, exocellulase, cellobiase, oxidative cellulases, and cellulose phosphorylases are those five types.
What is the difference between Cellulose and Cellulase?
• Cellulose is a carbohydrate (polysaccharide) and cellulase is a protein.
• Cellulase is an enzyme family which catalyses the breakdown of cellulose.
• Cellulose is mainly found in plant cell walls, and cellulase enzyme is mainly found in cellulose digesting bacteria, fungi and protozoa.