Biorefinery Analytics

The research group “Biorefinery Analytics” is concerned with the chemical characterization of plant biomass, especially in complex mixtures as they are formed in biorefinery approaches. A high number of analytical methods is available in the group, which can cover almost all qualities of organic molecules. The choice of separation and detection method is made according to the requirements of the analytical question.

Plant biomass is a particularly complex mixture of a broad range of compounds with very heterogenous properties. Therefore, specialized methods have to be developed for each analytical problem. The choices of sample treatment, chromatographic and/or spectroscopic method and data handling have to meet the requirements of the analytical questions and the restrictions imposed by the sample.

When current technologies are insufficient to answer the question, methods need to be developed further. We are focusing in this regard on high-performance thin layer chromatography hyphenated to mass spectrometry (HPTLC-MS) bioactivity screening on HPTLC plates or selective fluorescence labeling.

Exemplary sample material include extracts from leaves and bark, essential oils, mono- and oligosaccharides, non-cellulosic polysaccharides, secondary metabolites of plants and fungi and natural antioxidants.