Lignin Carbohydrate Complexes: Impact on a Forest Biorefinery
Dr. Martin Lawoko, Assistant Professor at WWSC
WWSC conference room, Teknikringen 56
There is interest in acquiring new bulk products from renewable resources, e.g. lignocellulosic materials such as wood, which is attractive since it contains the worlds most abundant natural polymers, i.e. cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin. To meet this goal, the fractionation of wood into its constitutional polymers, while preserving the unique polymeric properties of each component, is a critical step. The purity of the fractionated polymers may vary depending on the target product. In any case, the separation of wood polymers into distinct polymeric components is a challenge. One of these challenges stems from the strong associations between lignin and the hemicelluloses, commonly referred to as lignin carbohydrate complexes (LCC). To separate these two components, chemical bonds have to be cleaved as selectively as is possible, which is not an easy task from a research point of view for the following reasons:
1) Optimal methods of isolation of LCC for studies are limited
2) The exact number of bond types and the bond frequencies are still not known
3) Methods to analyze and quantify these bonds are still limited
4) From a processing point of view, conditions selective to cleavage of LC bonds are non-existent
The presentation will introduce some of the advances in research on this topic performed at KTH and at the University of Maine, as well as discuss some of the research challenges.
Overview: A post-doctoral research scientist position is available in the Brumer group at the Division of Glycoscience, School of Biotechnology at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, associated with and funded through the Wallenberg Wood Science Center. The position forms part of a dynamic research team studying fundamental aspects of polysaccharide modification and functionalisation using state-of-the-art molecular approaches.
For full information,see openings
A group of researchers, including members of the Wallenberg Wood Science Center, have succeeded in making flexible magnetic aerogels that can be compacted into stiff magnetic nanopaper using cellulose nanofibrils as templates. Their work was recently published in the prestigious journal Nature Nanotechnology.
A new approach for making nanoparticle cellulose materials with ordered interconnected organic and inorganic phases on the nanoscale. The new magnetic nanoparticle cellulose material with a network of cellulose nanofibers as scaffold can be used for the production of new functional materials. It can be used for in-situ precipitation of inorganic nanoparticles within the cellulose network, to produce evenly distributed nanoparticles inside the organic matrix and to prepare nano-functuional lightweight “foam-like” materials with very low apparent density based cellulose and provide the possibilities to prepare magnetic hydrogels based on cellulose.
Because the concepts of the process are simple and nanocellulose is sustainable and readily available in large quantities from wood, the suggested route is suitable for industrial-scale production and may be used with many types of nanoparticles.
The magnetic nanoparticle cellulose material and fabrication process are envisaged to be used within a broad range of applications. In compacted film form, the magnetic material may be used against document counterfeiting, for example. Other possible applications for the material include various types of membranes and filters, sensitive electromagnetic switches, generators, magnetic actuators, etc.
The article can be obtained from
A new postdoctoral position is now open at Chalmers.
The research project is entitled: production and design of enzymes working on lignocellulosic material
For more information, see description under openings.
In the Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC), KTH and Chalmers will join forces in wood science research. “This is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen Swedish wood science research.” says Professor Lars Berglund, center director. The joint research center aims to build a “world-class” material research program that can support the development of new products using the Swedish forests in the long term perspective. The base is a donation from Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation of SEK 120 million that will finance the first three years (2009-2011) of operations. The “guiding star” is high quality research as we believe that high quality research leads to high quality products in the long term perspective.
Welcome to our homepage! We are excited about the opportunity to develop a comprehensive research program with the objective to find new and added value materials from trees and hope that you will be excited to follow our developments. Updates and news will be continuously posted on this home page.
Definition and initiation of the research program
Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) was launched in the beginning of 2009. The activities in 2009 have largely been focused on defining a comprehensive and cohesive research plan and initiating the research. The research has been organized in 5 different themes which are linked to each other in a way such as to support the overall objective of the program to find new materials from trees. A total number of 31 individual projects have been defined within the different research themes. You can read more about the research themes on this home page.
To carry out the research, about 57 researchers have been recruited to WWSC. The staff comprised at the end of 2009 11 professor, 14 senior researcher, 7 Pos Docs, and 24 PhD students. (The professors and senior researchers are generally engaged in the center activities on part time basis.)
To support the director of the center, an administrative capacity including a secretary, an economy administrator and a center coordinator have been recruited.
An internal work-shop was held October 27-28, 2009 in Sånga-Säby. The Theme leaders introduced the various research themes for all WWSC researchers. The PhD-students presented their respective projects in a separate poster session. In addition, the various work groups met for discussions and planning.
An international conference was held December 1-3, 2009 in Södertuna. About 12 international top researchers were present and gave inspirational presentations in relevant research areas for the WWSC researchers. All WWSC research projects were presented in a separate poster session.
Also, in a separate session, the Theme leaders introduced the WWSC research program to the members of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) who provided valuable comments, remarks and recommendations in relation to the WWSC research program.
In order to create a cohesive center with an own clear identity and culture, it is of outmost importance to locate as many center members as possible in the same premises.
The work of building of 800 m2 premises for WWSC at KTH was started in 2009. The premises comprise offices and laboratories and will host the central administration, Post Docs and PhD-students that are employed by WWSC. At Chalmers the building of a separate meeting room was started. The two premises at KTH and Chalmers, respectively will be equipped with an advanced video link, to facilitate communication between the two hubs, respectively.
It is expected that the premises will be operational in June 2010.