Renewable resources


BMC Biopolymer Material Chemistry

Research of the BMC group is focused on the development of novel (functional) materials from renewable resources employing specific molecular and supramolecular properties inherent to biopolymers. Tailoring of biopolymer-based hydrogels, aerogels and carbon aerogels for tissue engineering, bio-sensing, slow release of bioactive compounds, high-performance thermal insulation, true volumetric displays or electrochemical applications can be regarded as core expertise as reflected by fundamental and applied research projects funded by FWF-The Austrian Research Fund, ANR-The French L'Agence Nationale de la Recherché, the European WoodWisdom-Net+, or FFG-The Austrian Research Promotion Agency and partly co-financed by renowned companies. Current topics in this respect include generation of dual porosity in surface-charged cellulose II aerogels, reinforcement of ultra-lightweight aerogels by percolating networks of biocompatible polymers, transparent cellulosic aerogels from nematic liquid-crystalline suspensions of nanofibrillated cellulose derivatives, homogeneous grafting of alloyed core/shell or carbon quantum dots onto the large internal surface of cellulosic aerogels, or lignin-derived mesoporous carbon aerogels for super-capacitors or proton exchange membranes in fuel cells.   

Besides the above core projects, the BMC group works on smaller side projects as well which includes topics, such as dissolution, purification, modification and analysis of biopolymers, fiber-reinforcement of mass plastics, processing of biopolymers using supercritical fluid technologies, isolation and characterization of plant extractives or conversion of ligneous mass (waste) materials to humus surrogates, organo-mineral slow-release N-fertilizers and water storing materials for large-scale rehabilitation of degraded soils.

Involvement of the BMC group in the Austria Wood KPlus Network and International Research Societies, such as the ACS American Chemical Society, GDCh Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, ISBPPB International Society of Biomedical Polymers and Polymeric Biomaterials, and the IHSS International Humic Substances Society form the base for both active national and international collaborations, such as with Kyoto University, Division of Materials Chemistry, USDA-ASR New Orleans, École National Supérior de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand, or the Federal University of Minas Gerais-Brazil, Department of Materials Engineering. 

Contact: Ass.Prof. Falk Liebner

Further information: www.chemie.boku.ac.at/wpf/en/arbeitsgruppen/chemie-der-biomaterialien-falk-liebner/

Natural Materials Technology

Natural Materials Technology

Conduct research and developments of innovative materials and technologies by using bio-based / natural materials, as well as residues and wastes.

Our vision is to work together with our partners towards solutions for new materials and technologies, which should also reach market readiness.


Kontakt: Ass. Prof. Norbert Mundigler, Univ.Prof. Rupert Wimmer

Weiterführende Informationen: http://www.ifa-tulln.boku.ac.at/en/institut-fuer-naturstofftechnik/

Biopolymer and Paper Analytics

Biopolymer and Paper Analytics

Research in the work group “Biopolymer and Paper Analytics” covers the whole range of analytical issues related to lignocelluloses and polysaccharides, especially cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin. This covers both the application of established analytical tools to different species and tasks and development of new analytical methodology. Special focus is given to advanced cellulose and lignin analytics and their advancement and function in different facets of modern lignocellulose science.

Size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) with multiple detection (multiple laser light scattering (MALLS), refractive index (RI), fluorescence, UV) is the central tool in this endeavor, running in independent lines for routine analytics and special analytical tasks, respectively. SEC is combined with different fluorescence labelling techniques that allow recording functional groups, substituents or special moieties not only as sum parameter but as profiles along the molar mass distribution. Especially the CCOA-method for carbonyl groups and the FDAM-method for carboxyl group have found wide international interest and broad application in cellulose science. These methods are especially apt to monitor oxidative changes in cellulosic substrates occurring, for instance, as a consequence of processing, environmental stress or aging. Research on lignin focuses mainly on the development of fast analytical tools to characterize technical lignins in order to support questions related to quality and function-property relationships.

The analytical techniques are extremely versatile, being applicable in all different facets of lignocellulose usage and application. Cellulose and process characterization in the pulp and paper industries requires reliable and robust techniques, which are supported by a comprehensive database of more than 500 different cellulosic substrates. An interesting application is found within the framework of modern conservational science, another mainstay of our research, which addresses the molecular mechanisms of cellulose aging, paper (de)acidification, ink corrosion and conservational countermeasures as well as assessment of damage and recommended conservational treatments for valuable historic cellulosic objects.

The Work Group Biopolymer and Paper Analytics is a major part of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Advanced Cellulose Chemistry and Analytics.

Contact: Ao.Univ.Prof. Antje Potthast

Further information: www.chemie.boku.ac.at/wpf/arbeitsgruppen/biopolymer-und-papieranalytik-antje-potthast/

Paper Conservation Science

Paper Conservation Science

Research in the working group “Paper Conservation Science” deals with a broad variety of issues related to the preservation of cultural heritage on paper and textile. The group is linked to the activities of the neighboring groups at the Division of Chemistry of Renewable Resources by the application of similar analytical methods. Also, the chemical reactions of the materials of interest are closely related to each other. The big difference, however, consists in the changed perspective from utilization and modification of raw materials towards the preservation of historic material with the aim to maintain it to future use.

“Paper Conservation Science” is meant to bridge the gap between applied conservation and fundamental research: general studies from pulp and paper industry cannot easily be translated into the treatment approaches in conservation ateliers. Specific questions ranging from aging mechanisms of blank and printed paper, non-destructive and/ or low-cost analysis, best practice approaches, and underlying degradation mechanisms that have to be answered to design appropriate treatment sequences need to be studied and established in cooperation between conservators and chemists.

In close vicinity to the other work groups, “Paper Conservation Science” aims to benefit from synergistic effects regarding the development and modification of natural resources into new materials that could be used to preserve cultural heritage on paper.