Cellulose is a term that comes from the French word cellulose. This word, in turn, is made up of cellule (which can be translated as “cell”) and the ending –Ose (“–Osa”).

Before proceeding with the definition of cellulose, therefore, it is worth focusing on its components. Is named cell to the fundamental unit of a living being, which has the capacity for independent reproduction and which has a nucleus and a cytoplasm enclosed by a membrane. Termination –Osa, on the other hand, it is used for the formation of the names of sugars.


Paper is made from cellulose pulp.

What is cellulose

Cellulose is called polysaccharide that enables the development of plant cell wall. At this point it is important to indicate that polysaccharides are carbohydrates composed of an extensive chain of monosaccharides (sugars that cannot be decomposed, via hydrolysis, by simpler ones).

It can be said that cellulose, the discovery of which took place in 1838 thanks to the research of the French chemist Anselme Payen, is a structural element for the plants. It is not only present in the walls of plant-type cells, but it is also found in the wood and elsewhere.

Its importance on paper

Cellulose is the main material of paper. In fact, a very thin sheet that is produced with cellulose pulp or pulp.

To obtain cellulose pulp, one works with the bark of the wood, which is crushed and moistened. The resulting substance is bleached and finally undergoes a drying and hardening process.

As it is produced from cellulose, the paper requires trees to be felled. Therefore, to avoid ecological damage, it is essential to guarantee the sustainability or sustainability of the exercise. It is also important to emphasize that paper can recycle.


Cellulose enables the production of celluloid.

Other uses of cellulose

With cellulose, multiple products can be generated. One of them is the celluloid, a highly elastic plastic used in the cinema and in the Photography.

Celluloid films are tapes of this material that, when impressed, harbor images. Photographic printing is the procedure that, by appealing to light, makes it possible to obtain still images, which can then be projected.

The cellulose nitrate also makes it possible to manufacture varnishes, lacquers and paintings. It even serves to perform explosives that are valued for being malleable and for showing greater stability than gunpowder.

Power source

Being a carbohydrate (also referred to as carbohydrate or glucid), cellulose is a energy source. However, the human beings they cannot take advantage of it by not having cellulase, which is the enzyme that is responsible for its decomposition.

In any case, cellulose in human food contributes to digestion, even though it is not a nutrient. In this case, cellulose is part of the dietary fibers that help bowel function.

In the case of ruminants and other animals, their stomachs present microorganisms that have cellulase and therefore allow their use as an energy source.