Research division Biopolymers


We develop products from natural raw materials such as wood, cotton or crab shells. Using chemical, physical or enzymatic modification of polysaccharides we produce materials with a wide range of applications.

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Starch Modification / Molecular properties

In our department, starches and starch products are modified and optimized for industrial applications. On customer request, we adapt the renewable resource specifically for processing and applications.

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Fiber Technology

Fibers, films and nonwovens for industrial and textile applications as well as corresponding manufacturing processes are the focus of the department.

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Material Development and Structure Characterization

Applied material development in the field of thermoplastics and thermosets, and exploring structure-property relationships of advanced materials are focus areas of our research.

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Processing Pilot Plant for Biopolymers Schwarzheide

With the Processing Pilot Plant for Biopolymers we want to speed up the product- and process transformation of biobased plastics to the market.

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Biopolymer research – Efficient use of nature

The research division Biopolymers focuses on one hand on industrially available biopolymers such as cellulose, starch, lignin, chitosan, vegetable and animal proteins. On the other hand biopolymers from products of agriculture and forestry are obtained with newly developed methods in order to expand the opportunities for using renewable raw materials and to achieve a holistic value of biomass.

In the development of biobased products, we focus on aspects such as functionality, efficiency and safety. Our goal is to replace petroleum by renewable resources in many applications. New approaches for securing the raw material basis of the chemical industry, for global food security and reduction of harmful emissions are developed.

The use of biopolymers has been established for example in the food manufacturing industries, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, chemical industry, plastics processing and vehicle manufacturing.

Our services

  • development of materials from biopolymers, biobased polymers, cellulose and bacterial biomass: thermoplastics, thermosets, composites
  • development of fibers and nonwovens
  • process development for the physical, enzymatic and chemical modification of biopolymers and biomass for materials and specialties
  • raw material analysis, material characterization and testing
  • analysis and characterization of products from biopolymers, biobased polymers, biomass
  • optimization of processes for making paper
  • development of cellulose derivatives for biomedical engineering
  • biocatalysis of lignocellulose and starch

Our research topics

As nature's synthesis products, biopolymers provide an impressive variety of macromolecular structures and physical properties. They are produced in renewable raw materials that are available rather endlessly. Traditionally, specific procedures are used worldwide for its isolation on an industrial scale. These biopolymers are available for product development and possess an inexhaustible potential for optimization for different applications.

The research division Biopolymers has scientific and technological expertise in the following areas

  • production of biopolymers
  • application and optimization of chemical and biotechnological processes for the direct recycling of biomass by extraction and processing of ingredients from the products of agricultural and forestry
  • investigation of morphology, structure and physical properties in the solid state
  • determination of the chemical composition and molecular properties
  • development of functional biopolymers by physical, enzymatic and chemical modification
  • investigation of process conditions of different technologies in the development of materials such as composites, films, fibers, nonwovens, thermoplastics and thermosets, membranes, polyols, toiletries
  • expansion of the property profile by processing in combination with biobased and synthetic polymers
  • development of specalties such as micro- and nanoparticles, encapsulating biopolymers and drug delivery, paper additives, building materials, adsorbents, adhesives, latex substitutes, polymer solutions and dispersions, gels, functional food additives

Bert Volkert

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Bert Volkert

Head of department | Lignocellulose

Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam-Golm

Phone +49 331 568-1516

Jens Buller

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Dr. Jens Buller

Head of department | Starch Modification / Molecular Properties

Geiselbergstraße 69
14469 Potsdam

Phone +49 331 568-1478

André Lehmann

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Dr. André Lehmann

Head of department | Fiber Technology

Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam-Golm

Phone +49 331 568-1510

Johannes Ganster

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Prof. Dr. Johannes Ganster

Head of department | Material Development and Structure Characterization

Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam-Golm

Phone +49 331 568-1706

Thomas Büsse

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Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Büsse

Processing Pilot Plant for Biopolymers Schwarzheide

Fraunhofer IAP
Schipkauer Str.1 BSW-Standort A 754
01987 Schwarzheide

Phone +49 331 568-3403