Division of Chemistry of Renewables - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Austria

Description of the Division of Chemistry of Renewables

The Division of Chemistry of Renewable Resources (Chair of Wood, Pulp and Fiber Chemistry) at the Department of Chemistry is concerned with fundamental and applied research in the field of wood and plant constituents, such as polysaccharides, lignin, and extractives, biorefineries, paper, biomaterials and green chemistry aproaches. The research focuses on the following topics:

  • Cellulose chemistry and analysis (structural chemistry, dissolution of cellulose and cellulose solvents, cellulosic fibers, aging chemistry and conservation chemistry, bleaching chemistry, nano-structured cellulosic materials) and polysaccharide chemistry in general
  • Lignin chemistry and analysis (structural analysis of native and technical lignins, lignin separation and fractionation, utilization approaches for lignins and technical lignins, such as Kraft lignins and lignosulfonates)
  • Biopolymer analysis with an emphasis on cellulose and polysaccharide analytics (molecular weight distributions, profiles of functional groups, substituent distributions, oxidative modifications, chromophore analysis, structural analysis)
  • Conservation science of cellulosic objects (damage assessment, development and application of conservational measures, non-destructive analytical techniques) 
  • Chemistry and development of phenolic antioxidants (structure-property relationships, novel tocopherol derivatives, multifunctional stabilizers, phenolic extractives)
  • Biomaterial chemistry (hydrogels, aerogels, carbogels, mikro- and nanostructured materials, nanocomposites)
  • "Green Chemistry" (sustainable and environmentally compatible chemical reactions, solventless, energy-saving and atom-economical reactions, microwave-supported syntheses, new reaction media)

The methods employed encompass the entire spectrum of organic synthesis with accompanying analyses (cellulosic and phenolic model compounds, cellulose derivatives, isotopic labeling, heterocyclic chemistry), structural aspects (solid-state, gel and solution NMR, EPR, crystal structure analysis) as well as specialized analytical techniques (gel permeation chromatography with multiple detection and other hyphenated chromatographic techniques).

State-of-the-art laboratories and equipment are placed at the disposal of a very active work group with about 40 members from all over the world, engaged in many national and international collaborations.

As services, several aspects of advanced cellulose analytics, lignin analysis, and antioxidant chemistry are offered


Main pieces of equipment:


    NMR 400 MHz, liquid samples (Bruker)

    NMR 400 MHz, liquid and solid samples (Bruker)

    FT-IR spectrometer with ATR-sampling device (Perkin Elmer)

    NIR with integrated sphere and fibre optics (Bruker)

    Fluorescence spectrometer (Perkin Elmer)

    UV/VIS spectrometer (Hitachi), including high-temperature unit, Ulbricht sphere for sheets

    UV/VIS spectrometer (Perkin Elmer)

   Ion trap MS (Agilent) for DESI and hyphenation with HPLC

    DESI-MS (Prosolia) with custom-built, heated 2D-sample stage


   3 independent GPC systems with MALLS, RI, DRI, Fluorescence, UV-DAD (Agilent, Shodex, Wyatt)

    Asymmetric-flow field-flow fractionation (Wyatt)

    Dynamic light scattering detector (Wyatt)

    GC-MS (Agilent), liquid samples and pyrolysis

    GC-MS (Agilent), liquid samples, SPME and headspace sampling

     MS-hyphenation to GC, LC and CE

    Several HPLC systems with UV-DAD, UV, RI, FI (Agilent, Dionex, Kontron)

    Preparative HPLC (Knauer)

    Automatted HPTLC (Camag)


    Glass ware for synthesis and extraction

    Centrifuges, lyophilization, speed-vac, high-vacuum capabilities

    Supercritical CO2 system (Separex)

    Microwave reactor with pressure, extraction and gas modules (MLS)

    Ultrasonic reactor with different sonotrodes, flow cell and vial sonication capability (Hielscher)

    Homogenizer (IKA)

    High-pressure and hydrogenation apparatus with online monitoring (Parr)

    Autoclaves (Parr) with PC monitoring unit

    H-Cube Pro hydrogenation flow reactor (Thales Nano)

    Kugelrohr glass oven (Büchi)

    Spin coater (Laurell)

    Ozoniser (BBC)

    Melting point microscope

    Cryo mill (Retsch)

    Climate chamber with heat, light and humidity control (Q-Sun)

    Computational chemistry packages (Gaussian, Wavefunction)

    Software for data evaluation data (ACD/Labs, Agilent, Bruker, custom written, Dionex, Originlab, Wyatt)

    Wrinkle tester (custom built)

    Aerosol generator (ZfB)

    Accelerated solvent extractor (Dionex) 

Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c. Thomas Rosenau / Prof. Dr. Antje Potthast

Phone: +43 1 47654 6071

Fax: +43 1 47654 6059

thomas.rosenau@boku.ac.at / antje.potthast@boku.ac.at


University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
Department of Chemistry
Muthgasse 18
A - 1190 Vienna
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
UFT Research Center Tulln
Konrad-Lorenz-Strasse 24
A - 3430 Tulln