Amylose vs. Amylopectin: What is the Difference Between Amylose and Amylopectin?

Are you curious about the difference between Amylose and Amylopectin? Great! In this article you’ll discover their key differences, Pros & Cons, as well as answers to some FAQs
Amylose vs Amylopectin: 6 Key Points You Need To Know

Both amylose and amylopectin are polymers made from D-glucose molecules and are components of starch. The amylose vs. amylopectin difference lies in the type of chains formed by these polysaccharides. Amylose forms a linear chain polymer whereas amylopectin forms a branched-chain polymer of D-glucose units. 

Let’s take a closer look at amylose vs. amylopectin:

Glucose chainAmylose forms linear while amylopectin forms a branched-chain polymer
ConstitutionAmylose constitutes 20% whereas amylopectin constitutes 80% of starch
Gel formationAmylose forms gel in hot water unlike amylopectin
α 1-6 glycosidic linkagesAmylopectin has α 1-6 glycosidic linkages while amylose does not

What is Amylose?

It is a component of starch forming linear chain polymers of D-glucose units. It only has α 1-4 glycosidic linkages and no α 1-6 glycosidic linkages. Amylose accounts for 20% of starch and is insoluble in cold water. It has many uses in cooking and is also used in some other industries.

What is Amylopectin?

It is a component of starch forming branched-chain polymers of D-glucose units. It has both α 1-4 and α 1-6 glycosidic linkages and accounts for 80% of starch. Pure amylopectin is readily soluble in cold water (Ref. 1). It can be readily digested by the human body which contributes to its positive as well as negative aspects.

Amylopectin vs. Amylose Pros and Cons

Amylose Pros and Cons

Pros of Amylose

  • It is used as a food thickener.
  • It helps in binding together textile fibers, plastic food wraps, et al.

Cons of Amylose

  • It might cause gluten intolerance.
  • It can lead to digestive problems.

Amylopectin Pros and Cons

Pros of Amylopectin

  • It is easily digestible.
  • It provides instant energy.

Cons of Amylopectin

  • It can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels.
  • Excess amylopectin can raise cholesterol levels.

Amylose vs. Amylopectin Examples

Examples of Amylose

Foods that have high amylose content include:

  • Long-grain rice
  • Russet potato
  • Amylomaize plant

Examples of Amylopectin

Foods that have high amylopectin content include:

  • Medium-grain rice
  • Waxy potato
  • Glutinous rice
  • Waxy corn

Amylopectin and Amylose Similarities Explained

  • Both amylose and amylopectin are polymers made from numerous D-glucose molecules.
  • The molecules in both these polymers are linked with 1, 4 glycosidic bonds.
  • Both these polysaccharides can be digested by humans.
  • Both are a source of energy for the human body. 

6 Key Points of Difference Between Amylopectin and Amylose That You Need To Know

There are several key differences to note when comparing amylose and amylopectin:

Basis Amylose Amylopectin
DefinitionAmylose is a linear chain polymer made from several D-glucose units.Amylopectin is a branched-chain polymer of D-glucose units.
Constitution in starchAmylose accounts for 20% of the starch.Amylopectin constitutes 80% of the starch.
Glycosidic linkagesAmylose has α 1-4 glycosidic linkages.Amylopectin has both α 1-4 as well as α 1-6 glycosidic linkages.
Iodine testAmylose stains black or dark blue when iodine is added.Amylopectin stains reddish-brown when iodine is added.
HydrolyzationAmylose can be hydrolyzed completely to glucose by β-glucosidase.It cannot be hydrolyzed completely but only the backbone is hydrolyzed while the side chain results in dextrin residue. 
Hot water testAmylose neither swells nor forms a gel in hot water.Amylopectin swells and thus forms a gel in hot water.

Comparison Chart

Are you curious about the difference between Amylose and Amylopectin? Great! In this article you’ll discover their key differences, Pros & Cons, as well as answers to some FAQs

Comparison Video

Amylose vs Amylopectin |Quick Differences and Comparison|

Amylose vs. Amylopectin FAQ

What is the Structural Difference Between Amylose and Amylopectin?

Amylose is a linear structured chain of glycosidic bonds and amylopectin consists of branched chains.

What is the Function of Amylose and Amylopectin?

Both amylose and amylopectin together make starch that is the stored energy in plants, ultimately consumed by animals and humans as food. Thus, they help in supplying energy to plants and humans.

Which is Easier to Digest: Amylose or Amylopectin?

Amylopectin is easier to digest as it has shorter linear chains against amylose’s long straight chains that get crystallized before complete digestion could take place. (Ref 2)

What is Amylose Used for?

  • Amylose is used as a binder on foods while deep frying to make them crisp.
  • It is also used as a thickener and gelling agent in food as well as industrial contexts.
  • It is used to bind together plastic food wraps, paper pulp, textile fiber, et al.

Is Amylopectin Soluble In Hot Water?

No, amylopectin does not dissolve in hot water but only swells up forming a gel. (Ref 3)

Are Amylose and Amylopectin Starch?

Yes, both constitute two portions that starch is made up of.

What Foods Are High in Amylopectin?

Foods that are high in amylopectin are ready-to-eat packaged and processed ones that are loaded with starch. For example, white bread, instant oatmeal, crackers, puffed rice, cookies, bagels, et al. Natural sources of Amylopectin are foods like white potatoes or short rice. 

Can Humans Digest Amylopectin?

Yes, humans can digest amylopectin due to an enzyme called amylase.

How Is Amylose Made?

To better understand what is amylose, let us discuss how it is made. 1-carbon atom on one glucose molecule links with 4-carbon atoms on the next glucose molecule to form α 1-4 glycosidic linkages. These linkages repeat to cover all glucose molecules that usually range between 300 to 3000. In this manner, a linear chain polymer of D-glucose units is made to be called amylose. (Ref. 4)

Where is Amylose Found in the Body?

Amylose is found in the mouth, esophagus, duodenum, and small intestine before getting digested by the body.

The Final Words

Amylose and amylopectin are two components of starch accounting for 20% and 80% of starch respectively. The major difference between amylopectin and amylose can be seen in their physical structures. Amylose forms linear chain polymers of D-glucose units whereas amylopectin forms branched-chain polymers of D-glucose units. Amylose is insoluble in cold water while amylopectin is water-soluble. Another amylose and amylopectin difference lies in their digestive capabilities. Amylose gets digested slowly while amylopectin is readily digested by humans.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amylopectin 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/amylopectin
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/amylopectin
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amylose 
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