The work group “Chemistry of Renewable Resources“ is primarily concerned with structure and conversions of natural products. Having a focus on synthetic and mechanistic organic chemistry, the research addresses current topics from the borderline region of organic, polymer, natural product and analytical chemistry. Isotopic labelling, fast kinetics and trapping methodology are frequently applied as special techniques, in addition to the entire spectrum of organic synthesis and the accompanying analytics (solution NMR, solid-state NMR, GC, LC and CE with and without MS hyphenation).
Cellulose as the most abundant and important renewable resource is a central topic, the research addressing issues from basic research (cellulose structure, hydrogen bond systems and their changes upon swelling and dissolution processes, synthesis and analysis of cellulosic model compounds, synthesis and substituent distributions of cellulose derivatives ) to applied topics (industrial cellulose processing, cellulosic fibers and fibermaking, Lyocell and viscose technology, chemistry of paper and sizing) and analytical questions (cellulose solvents and solutions, trace chromophores in cellulosics, functional group profiles of cellulosics). The chemistry of phenolic antioxidants, with an emphasis on tocopherols (vitamin E) is another key topic. Also here, the studies encompass fundamental science (primary oxidation intermediates, chemistry of ortho-quinone methides, aromaticity/antiaromaticity, spiro-polymerization as novel reaction principle) as well as applied aspects (novel tocopherol derivatives in pharmacy and medicine and as stabilizers of polymer dopes in extrusion and melt polymer processing). Some tocopherol-based drugs are currently undergoing testing in phases II and III.
A third focus of research is on the development of “green chemical methodology”. This includes solvent-free syntheses, water as reaction medium, as well as microwave and ultrasound applications in synthesis.