A myriad of polymeric compounds is naturally produced by all forms of life, including eukaryotes such as plants, animals, and fungi, as well as prokaryotic bacteria and archaea. These naturally occurring biopolymers are largely renewable and biodegradable as they are produced from naturally renewable biomass and can be degraded by organisms in the natural environment. This chapter provides an introductory summary of the various types and structures of naturally occurring polysaccharides, their natural producers and functions, processing techniques, and applications, both traditional and novel.

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