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Chrysolaminarin is a linear polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

 of β(1→3) and β(1→6) linked
Glycosidic bond
In chemistry, a glycosidic bond is a type of covalent bond that joins a carbohydrate molecule to another group, which may or may not be another carbohydrate....

Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

 units in a ratio of 11:1. It used to be known as leucosin. Chrysolaminarin is arguably one of the most common biopolymers in the world with cellulose
Cellulose is an organic compound with the formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to over ten thousand β linked D-glucose units....

 being the other.


Chrysolaminarin is a storage polysaccharide
Polysaccharides are long carbohydrate molecules, of repeated monomer units joined together by glycosidic bonds. They range in structure from linear to highly branched. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Depending on the structure,...

 typically found in photosynthetic heterokonts. It is used as a carbohydrate food reserve by phytoplankton
Phytoplankton are the autotrophic component of the plankton community. The name comes from the Greek words φυτόν , meaning "plant", and πλαγκτός , meaning "wanderer" or "drifter". Most phytoplankton are too small to be individually seen with the unaided eye...

 such as Bacillariophyta (similar to the use of laminarin
The molecule laminarin is a storage glucan found in brown algae. It is used as a carbohydrate food reserve in the same way that chrysolaminarin is used by phytoplankton. It is created by photosynthesis and is made up of β-glucan with β-linkages. It is a linear polysaccharide, with a β:β ratio...

 by brown algae
Brown algae
The Phaeophyceae or brown algae , is a large group of mostly marine multicellular algae, including many seaweeds of colder Northern Hemisphere waters. They play an important role in marine environments, both as food and for the habitats they form...


Chrysolaminarin is stored inside the cells of these organisms dissolved in water and encapsuled in vacuoles whose refractive index
Refractive index
In optics the refractive index or index of refraction of a substance or medium is a measure of the speed of light in that medium. It is expressed as a ratio of the speed of light in vacuum relative to that in the considered medium....

 increases with chrysolaminarin content. In addition, heterokont
The heterokonts or stramenopiles are a major line of eukaryotes currently containing more than 100,000 known species. Most are algae, ranging from the giant multicellular kelp to the unicellular diatoms, which are a primary component of plankton...

Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

use oil as a storage compound. Besides energy reserve, oil helps the algae to control their buoyancy.