1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Why is glucose stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle?

  1. Apr 25, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Why does the human body spend two high energy phosphate bonds to store glucose as glycogen in muscle and liver, and not just as glucose? What is the advantage in using energy to polymerize the glucose molecule?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    Why is glucose stored as glycogen in muscle and liver, and not just as glucose?

    Below are some theories I proposed please correct me if I am wrong.

    Glycogen is insoluble thus, storing it as glycogen will not upset the osmotic pressure rather than glucose which is soluble in water and if it is stored as glucose it will disturb the osmotic pressure(hypertonic) that will cause the cell to lyse.

    Glycogen is a polymerized form of sugar with alpha 1,4 and alpha 1,6 that enables that can be degraded efficiently rather than free floating glucose. with that in mind wouldn't it be as efficient if glucose is stored in the liver and shipped to the desired destination if it is possible to store it in the cell without disturbing the osmotic pressure?

    Glucose is unstable and forms a ring which maturate with a predominance of beta anomers which is favored structure but also, the cell would have a alpha glucose that is unable to undergo glycolysis and it wouldn't be accessible when it is needed for breakdown.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2012 #2
    This is the primary reason.

    Unstable is a relative term but Glucose is pretty damn stable. You can store glucose for years on your shelf without any degradation.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook