Aims and Concepts
The demand of current societies, with ever-increasing populations, for food and energy grows dramatically, resulting in a clear need for increased crop productivity. Additionally, the utilization of agricultural waste products for the production of fuels, chemicals, and new bio-based materials such as bioplastics must be strongly improved to enable a carbon neutral economy in the future. With our interdisciplinary research at the interface of synthetic organic chemistry and plant biology, we try to contribute to solving these issues. We focus on elucidating plant cell wall structure and biosynthesis as well as on obtaining a better understanding of plant immunity. To meet these goals, we use chemical synthesis and enzymatic methods to prepare glycans ranging in the size from oligo- to polysaccharides. The extensive use of glycan array technology allows us to employ these glycans for the high-throughput analysis of glycosyltransferases involved in cell wall biosynthesis, plant immune receptors, and other glycan-binding proteins. Furthermore, we investigate the physical properties of the prepared glycans in collaborations with researchers in chemical engineering and biopolymer technology.