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Biopolymer Analytical Platform (BAP)

Research infrastructure The Biopolymer Analytical Platform (former UPSC Plant Cell Wall and Carbohydrate Analytical Facility) has been an official KBC facility since 2018 and is dedicated to support research among KBC groups on cell walls of terrestrial and aquatic plants, and biopolymer materials. A large range of standard methods have been established with various sample preparation equipment for conventional wet chemistry methods and with state-of-the-art analytical instrument setups

The Biopolymer Analytical Platform description

Our competence for the analysis of lignocellulose and secondary xylem, besides fine detection of soluble sugars and starch in these materials, includes: carbohydrate composition, lignin composition, lignin and carbohydrate structures and molecular size distributions of poly­mers. Conventional wet chemistry methods such as Updegraff cellulose and Klason/thioglycolic acid/acetylbromide lignin have been optimized in order to reduce the amount of sample material required. The availability of parallel cell wall analytical methodologies for both model systems (Arabidopsis and Populus) facilitates and accelerates the research process with other plant species.

The established methods include many dif­ferent protocols to analyze monosaccharide composition of a whole sample or fractionated cell walls. The instrumental backbone for many of those methods is gas chromatography/mass spectrometry or flame ionization detection (GC/MS(FID)). The facility offers two instruments for analytical pyrolysis-GC/MS (Py-GC/MS) that quickly yield highly reproducible and comprehensive chemical fingerprinting of carbohydrate and lignin types, while a third is permanently available for sugar analysis.

For characterizing a wide variety of polymers, there is an analytical size exclusion chromatography (SEC) setup with a quadruple detector array for multi-angle laser light scattering (MALLS), viscometry, refrac­tive index (RI) and UV absorbance detection. Ion chromatography (IC) is also available for the analysis of monosaccharides without derivatization, as well as oligosac­charides that can be collected for further characterization.

Recently, increasing number of researchers related to bioenergy, renewable resources and novel biomaterials conducted analyses at the lab.

Steering committee

A steering committee oversees the work of the facility and decides what techniques should be developed.

Steering committee members

  • Totte Niittylä, Associate Professor, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU
  • Ewa Mellerowicz, Professor, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU
  • Hannele Tuominen, Associate Professor, Department of Plant Physiology, UmU
  • Leif Jönsson, Professor, Department of Chemistry, UmU
  • Ola Sundman, PhD, Department of Chemistry, UmU
  • Junko Takahashi-Schmidt, PhD, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, SLU


Totte Niittylä: Responsible scientist

Senior Lecturer at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology

Postal address:
Visiting address:
Phone: +46 (0)90 786 8434
E-mail: Totte.Niittyla@slu.se

Junko Takahashi-Schmidt: Laboratory manager 

Research Engineer at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology

Visiting address: Linneaus väg 6, G5 in KBC, 901 87 UMEÅ
E-mail: Junko.TS@slu.se

Latest update: 2021-10-19