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Plant biomass for high-performing sustainable materials


Plant biomass is an important renewable resource. Elucidating its compositional complexity imposes a fundamental limit to its application. My research shows that cellulose organization in the secondary cell wall is governed by the xylan component far more than currently thought. Determining the full function of xylan in cellulosic material is the challenge addressed by XYLAN-2.0. To address this challenge, I will characterize cellulose fibril agglomeration as it occurs under different conditions involving xylans with known changes in primary structure. Firstly, I will map changes in cellulose fibril patterning in a large number of xylan mutants of the plant Arabidopsis. Secondly, I will systematically investigate nanocellulose:xylan composites made from Arabidopsis wildtype and mutant xylan preparations. Thirdly, I will attempt to produce “recombinant” xylan with well-defined primary structure specifications and use it to produce nanocellulose:xylan composites. These experiments will provide unprecedented insight into the function of xylan and aim to develop a mechanistic and quantitative model for how xylan modulates cellulose agglomeration. These new insights will have an enormous impact on biomass crop improvement, processing and application, particularly on biomass applied for cellulose-based high-performance materials. The experience of my supervisor Prof. Ulvskov in nanocellulose and material science combined with my experience in xylan biochemistry and biosynthesis make an ideal environment for carrying out this project and establishing myself as a leading independent multidisciplinary researcher.
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Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn


Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 207 312

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 841703


Ongoing project

  • Start date

    8 April 2019

  • End date

    7 April 2021

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 207 312

  • EU contribution

    € 207 312

Coordinated by: