Project leader: Göran Gellerstedt
Ph.D student: Hans Önnerud
Tel.: +46 8 790 60 00

Lignin and hemicellulose structures in wood


Aim: To clarify the chemical structure of lignin and hemicellulose in spruce wood, Picea abies, using advanced mass spectrometry (MS).

Background: The traditionel way to analyse biopolymers like lignin has been different kinds of wet chemical analyses. Our present knowledge about lignin structure is mainly based on identification of monomeric and dimeric fragments formed by controlled chemical degradation of isolated lignin preparations e.g. Björkman lignin. Most of our knowledge on lignin chemical structure is based on work from the -60s and the -70s. In the polysaccharide area the picture is similar. Wet chemical degradation followed by separation and identification of single sugars was the important analytical principle.

Nowadays it is possible to selectively degrade the wood polymers and through the development of MS it has been possible to analyse even more high molecular weight compounds. The advantage here is that extremely small samples are necessary in comparison with for example NMR.

Project group:
Göran Gellerstedt, KTH
Hans Önnerud, KTH
Tord Eriksson, KTH