Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Bioproduct Chemistry

The Bioproduct Chemistry group is led by Prof. Monika Österberg. The group works on the development of renewable, high added-value materials based on lignocellulosics. Our research is especially focused on understanding interfacial properties using atomic force microscopy (AFM, imaging and force measurements), quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D), and surface plasmon resonance (SPR), among other techniques.
CHEM_Bio_Foam and woad research
Foams and woad prints research

Our research areas:

  1. Lignin valorization with a focus on lignin nanoparticles

  2. Lignocellulosic nanomaterials

  3. Surface functionalization and understanding surface interactions

Schematic illustration of lignin valorization

1. Lignin valorization:

An important part of our research is devoted to the transformation of waste lignin from biorefineries and pulp industries into high added-value products. The preparation, modification and utilization of colloidal lignin particles (lignin nanoparticles) are at the core of this research line.

Bio-based coatings, adhesives, and composites are some examples of commercial applications of colloidal lignin particles we are working on.

Composite film made of cellulose nanofibrils and lignin

2. Lignocellulosic nanomaterials:

Aiming for a more sustainable use of natural resources, we work on the development of new value-added materials based on cellulose nanofibrils, hemicelluloses, and colloidal lignin particles to replace fossil-oil based materials in areas ranging from packaging and coatings to tissue engineering. Components from bark extracts are also studied as biocolorants and for packaging and other added-value applications.

Textiles modified with dyes and hydrophobic coatings. Photo: Valeria Azovskaya

3. Surface functionalization and understanding surface interactions:

We explore different green approaches for the surface modification. One main aim is to develop bio-based dyes and pigments to replace synthetic dyes commonly used in the textile industry.

In addition, nontoxic approaches for protective coatings solutions with controlled breathability for surfaces like wood, textiles and paper are explored.

Living cells and biomaterials:

Our approach to developing materials is via fundamental understanding of interfacial interactions. Hence, the interaction forces and adhesion between living cells and different biomaterials (including cellulose nanofibril hydrogels) have been studied in our group. Analyses on cell mechanics have also been carried out. The results of these studies are relevant for advanced cell cultures, wound treatment, drug testing, and tissue engineering, among other biomedical applications.

We also work on the development of 3D printed scaffolds made of hydrogel materials based on wood polymers for cell culturing and other biomedical applications.

Schematic illustration of a cell in contact with cellulose nanofibrils, and photo of 3D printing

Examples of ongoing research projects:

  • Zero Waste Ligno-Cellulosic Biorefineries by Integrated Lignin Valorisation (Zelcor). Funded by European Union and Bio-Based Industries consortium (EU-BBI).
  • Development of a hybrid biorefinery process for the side-stream lignin (IMPRESS). Funded by European Union, under the program Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE).
  • Lignin nanospheres as a platform material for sustainable adhesives and beyond (LignoSphere). Funded by Business Finland (TUTLI).
  • Fundamental understanding of nanoscaled wood components (LigCNF). Funded by FinnCERES (Academy of Finland).
  • Bio-based dyes and pigments for colour palette (BioColour). Funded by Academy of Finland.
  • Sustainable Composites through Enzymatic processing of Lignin and Lipids (SUSCELL). Funded by Novo Nordisk.
Bioproduct Chemistry group / photo by Jinze Dou

Join us!

Highly motivated MSc, doctoral or postdoctoral students interested in joining the team should contact Prof. Österberg ([email protected]).

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Latest publications:

Self-assembly of colloidal lignin particles in a continuous flow tubular reactor

Rahul Bangalore Ashok, Yao Xiao, Kalle Lintinen, Pekka Oinas, Mauri Kostiainen, Monika Österberg 2020 Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects

Open coating with natural wax particles enables scalable, non-toxic hydrophobation of cellulose-based textiles

Nina Forsman, Monika Österberg, Leena-Sisko Johansson, Pirjo Kääriäinen, Matilda Tuure, Hanna Koivula 2020 Carbohydrate Polymers

Author Correction: Quantified forces between HepG2 hepatocarcinoma and WA07 pluripotent stem cells with natural biomaterials correlate with in vitro cell behavior (Scientific Reports, (2019), 9, 1, (7354), 10.1038/s41598-019-43669-7)

Riina Harjumäki, Robertus Wahyu N. Nugroho, Xue Zhang, Yan Ru Lou, Marjo Yliperttula, Juan José Valle-Delgado, Monika Österberg 2020 Scientific Reports

Eco-friendly surface hydrophobization of all-cellulose composites using layer-by-layer deposition

O. Korhonen, N. Forsman, M. Österberg, T. Budtova 2020 Express Polymer Letters

Agglomeration of Viruses by Cationic Lignin Particles for Facilitated Water Purification

Guillaume N. Rivière, Antti Korpi, Mika Henrikki Sipponen, Tao Zou, Mauri A. Kostiainen, Monika Österberg 2020 ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering

Lignin nanoparticles modified with tall oil fatty acid for cellulose functionalization

Harri Setala, Hanna-Leena Alakomi, Arja Paananen, Geza R. Szilvay, Miriam Kellock, Miikka Lievonen, Ville Liljestrom, Eva-Lena Hult, Kalle Lintinen, Monika Osterberg, Mauri Kostiainen 2020 Cellulose

Lignin-fatty acid hybrid nanocapsules for scalable thermal energy storage in phase-change materials

Mika H. Sipponen, Alexander Henn, Paavo Penttilä, Monika Österberg 2020 Chemical Engineering Journal

Modelling aerosol transport and virus exposure with numerical simulations in relation to SARS-CoV-2 transmission by inhalation indoors

Ville Vuorinen, Mia Aarnio, Mikko Alava, Ville Alopaeus, Nina Atanasova, Mikko Auvinen, Nallannan Balasubramanian, Hadi Bordbar, Panu Erästö, Rafael Grande, Nick Hayward, Antti Hellsten, Simo Hostikka, Jyrki Hokkanen, Ossi Kaario, Aku Karvinen, Ilkka Kivistö, Marko Korhonen, Risto Kosonen, Janne Kuusela, Sami Lestinen, Erkki Laurila, Heikki J. Nieminen, Petteri Peltonen, Juho Pokki, Antti Puisto, Peter Råback, Henri Salmenjoki, Tarja Sironen, Monika Österberg 2020 Safety Science

Three-Dimensional Printed Cell Culture Model Based on Spherical Colloidal Lignin Particles and Cellulose Nanofibril-Alginate Hydrogel

Xue Zhang, Maria Morits, Christopher Jonkergouw, Ari Ora, Juan José Valle-Delgado, Muhammad Farooq, Rubina Ajdary, Siqi Huan, Markus Linder, Orlando Rojas, Mika Henrikki Sipponen, Monika Österberg 2020 Biomacromolecules
More information on our research in the Research database.
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