774314 Biopolymers for sustainable utilization

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Hettegger, Hubert
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


Chemistry of carbohydrates
Structure of mono- and oligosaccharides, the concept of chirality, aldoses, ketoses, mutarotation, formation of glycosides, epimerization, important monomers, oxidation and reduction products, degradation under alkaline and acidic conditions, disaccharides, ester: formation and stability

Plant polysaccharides I: Cellulose
Structure, morphology, stability, dissociated cellulosic materials, commercially important cellulose derivatives, their production, change in properties, main applications, the concept of hydrogels

Plant polysaccharides II: Starch
Structure and chemistry of starch, amylose, and amylopectin, structural features of starch granules, origin–structure relationships, usage of starch, commercially important starch derivatives, their production, change in properties, main applications, a digression on glycogen

Plant polysaccharides III: Annual plant hemicelluloses
Occurrence and structure, role in plant tissue and applications, analytics

Plant polysaccharides IV: Pectins, gums, and beta-glucans
Occurrence and structure, different applications

Plant polysaccharides V: Algae and alginates
Algae as renewable raw material and alginates as fascinating material for different applications, the concept of gel formation based on cation binding

Polysaccharides VI: Chitin and chitosan
Crustaceans as source material of chitin, chitosan as an interesting material for various applications, the concept of gel formation based on different charges

Further biopolymers
Occurrence, structure as well as possible applications of lignin, collagen, etc.

Plastics: PLA, PHA, et al.
PLA (polylactic acid) as an important example of bioplastics, production, and applications, different ways of modification

Polysaccharides in food and packaging technology

Design for degradation - how biodegradable materials can help for reducing the amount of waste; biodegradability, compostability

Sustainability - some thoughts about a sustainable lifestyle and everyday examples (e.g. textiles).

Previous knowledge expected

General concepts of chemistry have already been acquired.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

The students can name the crucial properties of biopolymers. They can derive general principles from an example that is presented during the lecture. They know about the relation between the molecular structure and properties of the biopolymer. The students know the possibilities and limitations of the industrial application of biopolymers.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.