Research objectives and content
The objective of the project is the modification of industrially relevant polysaccharides such as starch, cellulose, chitin and guaran to obtain polymer systems with commercially interesting properties (e.g. hydrogels, thickeners, emulsifiers). To this end, the polysaccharides will first be selectively oxidised at the primary alcohol position to obtain the corresponding aldehydes or carboxylates. This oxidation can be performed either through a TEMPO-mediated hypohalite oxidation or with galactose oxidase. The obtained polymers will be further functionalised; e.g. via cross-linking with a bifunctional agent, introducing positive or negative charges or introducing long chain alkyl groups. These are common reactions from organic chemistry: reductive amination, esterification or amidation. An important aspect is physico-chemical characterization of the obtained polymer systems, for example rheology and laser light scattering. Furthermore, analysis should be possible due to the fact that derivatisation will be completely selective for primary positions, which will increase the understanding of the structure-property relationships for polysaccharides.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The applicant will increase his knowledge on polymer chemistry, polymer physics and polymer modification. Several of the techniques to be used are new for the applicant such as optical/chiroptical spectroscopy and microcalorimetry
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The applicant did his PhD research at the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute.