The research is contributing to our basic understanding of cell wall structure, architecture and function. Annotating glycosyltransferases (GTs) involved in cell wall biosynthesis and understanding their evolutionary history plays a major role.
Understanding function includes plant hormones in cell wall development as well as biophysics of cell walls.Cell wall architecture and polysaccharide biosynthesis are key topics for industrial exploitation of the plant cell wall.
A wide range of applications are pursued: Cell wall engineering for use as feedstock for biological jet fuel; development of new nano-materials inspired by cell wall architecture; use of algal oligo- and polysaccharides for anti-inflammatory agents, laundry detergent additives and new, functional food ingredients.
- Development of pretreatment technology for second-generation biofuel. Optimization is guided by inhibitor generation vis-à-vis saccharification yield as a function energy input and genetic modification of the biomass
- Development of enzyme mediated release of nanocellulose from primary cell walls and the reassembly of the nanocellulose into novel materials
- The cell wall biology and evolution of the proteoglycan extensin
- Annotation of algal and plant genomes with regard to glycosyltransferase repertoire as a basis for making inferences on evolution and making educated guesses as to glycosyltransferase activities
- Approaches for producing monoclonal antibodies with novel carbohydrate binding specificities. Both a biology-driven and yeast two hybrid approach has been applied with success. The specificity is confirmed with our carbohydrate micro-array technology
- The influence on the cell wall composition from plant hormones, development and pathogens.
- Method development and implementation
- Transformation technology
- Rheology and biophysics
- Carbohydrate analytics
Current research projects