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Starch is a complex carbohydrate. It is made of many glucose units joined by chemical bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants as an energy store. It is the most common carbohydrate in human diets. Pasta, potatoes, bread, and other starchy foods are made out of carbohydrates.
Starch in our lives
Starch in food
Some good food sources of starch are cereals, bread, potatoes, grains, peas, and beans. Starch is also used for thickening sauces in cooking. It is a white powder that is tasteless and odourless. It can also be used for thickening cold foods when they are pre-cooked.
There are also different kinds of starch, like laundry starch, which gives clothing a smooth and crisp feel. Sweat and dirt from a person’s wrist and neck will stick to the starch on the clothes, not to the fibers of the clothes, and will wash away along with the starch. Then, after each laundry load, the starch can be used again.
Starch glues are used in wood, cotton, and bonding of paper. Animals and humans have amylase, so they can digest starch. Starch was used in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries to stiffen the collars and ruffs of the fine linen which surrounded the neck. Starch also requires heat to thicken. The actual temperature depends on the type of starch.