Amylopectin
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Amylopectin is a type of "Sticky Starch." In the kitchen, Amylopectin is commonly used as a thickener.

Amylopectin can also be defined as a highly branched polysaccharide that makes up about 70% to 80% of most starches.

The other type of starch component is Amylose which makes up roughly 20% - 30% of most starches. Amylose does not gelatiize and will better retain its structure when cooked.

Short Grained Rice typically has high Amylopectin levels and consequently tend to be soft and sticky when cooked.

Medium Grain Rice contains a moderate amount of Amylopectin in its outer layer and a moderate amount of Amylose in the inner layers. It's the Amylopectin starch which is released during cooking, that gelatinizes and creates the desirable creamy texture of a Risotto or Paella.

Varieties

The specific starch composition varies from plant to plant and even from species to species. For example within Rice, Glutinous Rice is 100% Amylopectin and is known as "Sticky Rice". Medium Grain Rice tends to have a medium amount of Amylopectin and is moderately sticky. Amylopectin is less concentrated in Long Grain Rice which is considered a "Starchy Rice" or "Non-Sticky Rice". Russet Potatoes are also lower in Amylopectin.

Nutrition

In the digestive system, Amylopectin is soluble and more easily digested by the enzyme "amylase." Amylose is harder to digest.