any of a group of gummy polysaccharides, intermediate in complexity between sugar and cellulose, that hydrolyze to monosaccharides more readily than cellulose.

1890–95; hemi- + cellulose

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World English Dictionary
hemicellulose (ˌhɛmɪˈsɛljʊˌləʊz)
any of a group of plant polysaccharides that occur chiefly in the cell wall

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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

hemicellulose hem·i·cel·lu·lose (hěm'ĭ-sěl'yə-lōs', -lōz')
Any of several polysaccharides that are more complex than a sugar and less complex than cellulose and found in plant cell walls.

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Encyclopedia Britannica


any of a group of complex carbohydrates that, with other carbohydrates (e.g., pectins), surround the cellulose fibres of plant cells. The most common hemicelluloses contain xylans (many molecules of the five-carbon sugar xylose linked together), a uronic acid (i.e., sugar acid), and arabinose (another five-carbon sugar). Hemicelluloses have no chemical relationship to cellulose.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Along with cellulose and hemicellulose, these feedstocks all contain a
  substance called lignin.
Liquid wood is made mostly of lignin, one of the three major components of
  wood, the other two being cellulose and hemicellulose.
The group wants to team it with the bacteria that are good at breaking down
  hemicellulose and using all sugars.
Hemicellulose is a polysaccharide composed of a variety of sugars including
  xylose, arabinose, mannose.
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