The molecular structures of starch components and their contribution to the architecture of starch granules: A comprehensive review



Recent developments in methods and instrumentation have contributed to major advances in our understanding of the fine structure of amylose and amylopectin. The structure of the starch granule slowly unravels with new insight into key structural features. Following a brief presentation of the structural features common to all starches, the most recent findings for the structure of amylose and amylopectin are reported. The organization of different types of chains in amylopectin is discussed with a critical review of the ‘cluster’ model leading to the presentation of alternative models. The locations of molecular components in the starch granule are described according to a progress structural order. The description of the crystalline components is followed by a presentation of their supramolecular arrangements. The crystalline components comprise platelet nanocrystals which have already been identified and characterized, and other less well characterized ‘blocklet components’. The location and state of amylose within the granule is also presented. This comprehensive review aims at distinguishing between those structural features that have received widespread acceptance and those that are still under debate, with the ambition of being educational and to provide stimulation for further fundamental investigation into the starch granule as a macromolecular assembly.