About the book
Chemically, starch is a carbohydrate polymer consisting of two inherently incompatible molecules: amylose and amylopectin. It is used in a variety of industries including food, textiles, cosmetics, plastics, adhesives, paper, and pharmaceuticals. Starch has also gained attention as a biodegradable plastic for the production of disposable items. Reports on the use of starch for personal care and cosmetic purposes date back to the seventeenth century. Although, starch is generally considered as “inert”, the controversy over its “inertness” rages due to its chemical properties and attendant reactivity. Some have argued that, starch has even moved from its traditional role as food to being an indispensable medicine. To continually consider starch as an ordinary “inert” excipient therefore, is to be oblivious of the influence this important biopolymer plays in various fields of human endeavor; roles which are directly or indirectly related to its chemical properties. Starch is also very sensitive to acid attack, and this is equally attributed to its chemical properties. The chemical properties of starch as conferred by the presence, amount and/or quality of amylose and amylopectin molecules, granule structure, and the natures and amounts of the lipid and protein molecules vary with the botanical source of the starch. Therefore, what has been discovered about the structural features of one type of starch does not necessarily apply to other types of starch. Although starch is generally regarded as safe, some scientists have questioned its safety especially when modified to submicron levels. This book intends to provide the reader with a comprehensive overview of the chemical properties of starch and current perspectives, arguments and evidential or scientific proof of the role of starch in various fields as defined by its chemical properties.