We are applying a non-linear optical vibrational spectroscopy technique called Sum Frequency Generation (SFG), which selectively detects crystalline cellulose, on intact plant cell wall and processed biomass in order to fundamentally understand the three-dimensional architecture of cellulose microfibrils (CMFs).
The mesoscale ordering and CMF orientation change during the plant cell wall of progressive developmental stages, shown in Arabidopsis, epidermal scales of onion and reaction wood.
We have combined the computational data (Density functional theory) with the experimental vibrational signatures observed from SFG and polarized IR from cellulose samples to understand the structure of cellulose in and on the surface of microfibrils. Knowledge of CMF structure is very important in designing process technology and methodology for deconstruction biomass into biofuels.
Centre for Lignocelluose Structure and Formation (CLSF)