Definition of hemicellulose in English:



  • Any of a class of substances which occur as constituents of the cell walls of plants and are polysaccharides of simpler structure than cellulose.

    [mass noun] ‘the dry seeds contain a substance called hemicellulose’
    • ‘Plant cell walls are composed primarily of cellulose microfibrils, hemicelluloses, pectic polysaccharides, and small amounts of structural proteins.’
    • ‘Pectins and hemicelluloses, two of the major cell wall components, undergo solubilization and depolymerization.’
    • ‘Dietary fibre consists of plant material such as cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, polysaccharides, gums, mucilage and lignin.’
    • ‘Cooking softens the hemicellulose of vegetables, allowing the nutrients that are present in the food to be more accessible for digestion.’
    • ‘The agricultural residues are made up of cellulose and hemicellulose, known as cellulosic materials.’


Late 19th century: coined in German from hemi- + cellulose.