Starch is a natural material found in plants. It can be used by animals as a long-term source of energy and is also used in processed foods. It is one of our most important foods.
The science word for starch is carbohydrate. It is a kind of sugar produced by most green plants as an energy store. It is the most common carbohydrate in human diets and you find it in large amounts in potatoes, wheat, maize (corn), rice, and cassava.
If you extract and dry pure starch you get a white, tasteless and odourless powder. It will not dissolve in cold water. When you dissolve starch in warm water you get a sticky glue-like material which can be used as a thickening material in foods.
As it is a natural glue, it can be used as a glue, or to stiffen fabrics. Most starch powder is used in food-making, but the next most important use is as a glue in papermaking.