Difference between Lignin and Cellulose


It is an organic polymer found in most plant tissues. It is vital in the development of cell walls, especially in bark and wood. Lignin provides rigidity and also prevents rotting. It is a cross-linked polymer that fills the gap between cellulose, pectin and hemicellulose in the cell walls. Also, it is found in vascular and supporting tissues. It plays a crucial role in conducting nutrients and water in stems. This lignin is present in most vascular plants.


It is a polysaccharide compound made of several linked glucose units. It is a distinct structural component of the cell walls in plants, and also in some oomycetes and algae. It is the most abundant organic polymer found on Earth. Cellulose is mostly obtained from cotton and wood pulp for commercial purposes. Cotton fibre has approximately 90% cellulose content, while wood has around 40-50%.

Extended Reading: Cellulose in Digestion

Difference between Lignin and Cellulose



It is the second most abundant organic polymer following cellulose.

It is the most abundant organic polymer found on earth.

It is a cross-linked polymer composed of phenolic precursors.

It is a linear polysaccharide chain composed of glucose units.

It plays a vital role in secondary cell walls, especially in the bark and wood region.

It is the major constituent of the primary cell wall of plants.

It is hydrophobic.

It is hydrophilic.

It is not metabolised during digestion.

Only ruminants can digest cellulose.

Also Read: Difference between Starch and Cellulose

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Lignin and Cellulose


What is hemicellulose?

They are polysaccharides that are closely related to cellulose. Hemicellulose is made of several units of glucose, xylose, mannose, rhamnose, galactose and arabinose. It has short and branched sugar units when compared to cellulose that has unbranched linear units.


What is chitin?

It is a polymeric chain consisting of N-acetylglucosamine (derivative of glucose). It is the second most abundant polysaccharide after cellulose. It is a major constituent in the cell walls of fungi, the exoskeleton of arthropods, molluscs, etc.


What is suberin?

Suberin is a long biopolymer of fatty acids (suberin acids), which along with lignin, are present in the epidermis of higher plants. The lignin and suberin are covalently linked to form a barrier against the impregnation of solutes and water. It is especially found in the cork region.

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