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WWSC Wood Biopolymer Characterization Webinars

Welcome to a webinar series where you meet international experts on wood biopolymer characterization. Take the chance to learn more about the characterization, ask questions and discuss in this webinar series, held online via Zoom meetings. 

The focus will be on learning and let the participants gain more insight into the characterization of wood biopolymers and the techniques that is used.

Register to receive a link to the Zoom-webinars. The webinars are open for all to attend.

Program 2022

Part 2: Challenges for molar mass determinations of wood biopolymers

Webinar 3:
January 13, 14.00 – 15.30 CET

Molecular weight determination and conformation of polysaccharides

Prof. Bjørn E. Christensen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway

The presentation will first present polysaccharides in solution from a physico-chemical point of view with relevance for size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) studies. Then the fundamentals of SEC and SEC combined with multiple detectors to provide molar mass (M) distributions (and averages), radii of gyration (RG) and intrinsic viscosities ([h]) will be described. Finally, the use of M-RG and M-[h] data to obtain information about chain extension and conformation will be discussed.

Dr. Christensen works within the field of polysaccharide engineering. His interest lies n particular within structure-function studies of naturally occurring as well as chemically/enzymatically engineered polysaccharides. The approach has elements from both polymer science and carbohydrate chemistry. Main systems studied over the years include xanthan, dextran, cellulose, chitin, chitosan, alginates and hyaluronan as well as others. We have recently started to study a new generation of engineered block polysaccharides obtained by terminal conjugation of polysaccharide blocks from different sources.

The biopolymer laboratory at NTNU is well equipped with instrumentation suited for polysaccharide research: Analytical and preparative chromatography, SEC-MALLS, ITC, DSC, NMR, CD/ORD etc.

Webinar 4:
January 28, 14.00 – 15.30 CET

Towards absolute molecular weight determination of lignin

Prof. Antje Potthast, BOKU, Austria

This lecture deals with the molar mass of lignins, in particular also of technical lignins. Classical and newer methods for molar mass determination of lignins will be discussed. Particular attention will be paid to possible problems and pitfalls associated with these materials. 

Dr. Antje Potthast is professor (Chemistry of lignocellulosic materials) at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). She works with analysis and modification of biopolymers, especially cellulose and lignin in very different research areas including analytical method development, speed analysis for lignin characterization, methods for cellulose modification and application strategies for lignocellulose biopolymers.

Program 2021

Part 1: Mass spectrometry for wood biopolymer analysis

Webinar 1:
December 3, 14.00 – 15.30 CET

Introduction to wood biopolymers: Challenges for molecular characterization

Francisco Vilaplana

Analysis of chemically modified polysaccharides by mass spectrometry

Prof. Petra Mischnick, TU Braunschweig, Germany

Polysaccharides, especially cellulose and starch, are chemically modified in various ways in order to change their natural properties and open a wide field of application, for instance in construction, food, and pharma. Beside the type of derivative formed, the average degree of substitution (DS) and the distribution of the substituents in a polyfunctional polymer have a significant impact on the resulting physicochemical properties. Beside proper sample preparation, mass spectrometry is a key tool in the  analysis of the complex substitution pattern of such materials.

Petra Mischnick was professor at the Institute of Food Chemistry of Technische Universität Braunschweig until 2020 and, from 2008-2012, at KTH Stockholm, FPT.

Her main research interests are focused on polysaccharides and polysaccharide derivatives, especially on the comprehensive analysis of structure and substituent patterns

Webinar 2:
December 10, 14.00 – 15.00 CET

Insights into fine molecular structure of hemicelluloses and lignin through chromatography and mass spectrometry

Assoc. Prof. Mirjam Kabel, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands

This presentation will highlight chromatographic and mass spectrometric methodologies to (enzymatically) fingerprint hemicelluloses to obtain insights into their molecular structure. In addition, attention will be paid to analytical challenges related to quantification and identification of lignin.

Dr Kabel worked on fungal, enzymatic and thermochemical lignocellulose conversion for >20 years and has a strong expertise in plant biomass analytics and biochemistry. Relevant projects relate(d) to 2nd generation bioethanol, feed conversion, and optimal substrate production for commercial white button mushroom. 

Her group is well equipped with sophisticated analytics combining chromatographic, mass spectrometric and NMR technologies.

Organisers and contact

The webinar series is arranged by Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) in collaboration with Treesearch.

Contact and organizer: Francisco Vilaplana, WWSC 

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