NanoCellulose: An Abundant, Sustainable, Versatile Biopolymer

Saturday, February 18, 2012: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 220 (VCC West Building)
Nanocellulose is a generic name for a new family of novel fibrils derived from plant cell walls or bacteria. Just as cellulose has been an abundant natural resource for millennia with substantial contributions to the development of civilizations, the unique nanocelluloses are sustainable biopolymers poised to have a major role in improving the quality of human life in this century. A rapidly expanding field of nanocellulose science has emerged with pioneering results, leading some to predict that the field could parallel history, where the 1920s studies on cellulose contributed to the discovery of polymers and led to the origin of polymer science. Fibrillated, crystalline, and bacterial nanocelluloses have unsurpassed versatility and strength for composite materials, films, medical implants, drug delivery systems, and a biomaterial rivaling Kevlar, which is made from fossil fuels. With cellulosic biofuels becoming a competitive alternative to fossil fuels, research in enzymology is targeting high-value nanofibrillated cellulose as a biofuel co-product. This symposium will present current findings that bridge multidisciplines, from genomics of tree and plant breeding, plant cell wall structure and function, advanced techniques for characterizing cell walls and nanocellulose, and specialized methods for isolating nanofibrils, to novel biomaterials. The speakers represent three international science and technology centers at the forefront of this new wave of cellulose research.
Barbara Illman, U.S. Forest Service
Barbara Illman, U.S. Forest Service
Theodore Wegner, U.S. Forest Service
A World View of Nanocellulose
Nils Petersen, National Research Council Canada
Nano-Scale Devices for Nanocellulose
Ali Harlin, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland
Nanocellulosic Technologies: A Success Story
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