In cellulose structure, some beta glucose are inverted. I’ve read that therefore the hydroxyl groups stick on both sides, but aren’t there hydroxyl groups on both sides anyways whether it was inverted or not and whether it was alpha and not beta? So why is this considered so special about cellulose?

  • $\begingroup$ Although cellulose is an important bio-molecule, this question concerns polysaccharide structure, and I believe it would garner more attention on chemistry.SE. $\endgroup$
    – acvill
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Dirigible — Structural Biology is on topic here. The question, however is unintelligible to me as it stands. What does the poster mean by “the structure is inverted” and “stick out on both sides”? Unless and until he presents molecular structures — which would probably answer his problem — it is a waste of everyone’s time considering his question. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


Indeed, there would be hydroxyl groups in both sides independently of the orientation in space of each glucose monomer. The alternating inversion of each glucose residue reduces the steric effects between each monomer, simultaneously allowing the formation of more hydrogen bonds between each glucose. So it is a matter of molecular stability, and this is not special to cellulose, as it can be seen in other polysaccharides (e.g. chitin).


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