Biomime™ marries a wide range of scientific competence and technological skills to advance our understanding of the natural process of wood fiber biosynthesis and structural design. In a short term, this fundamental information will help to identify new enzymes useful in fiber engineering (Theme A – Cell Wall Biogenesis), the development of new bioinspired principles for fiber surface modification and the design of novel bioinspired materials (Theme B – Fundamentals of Adhesion and Composite Technology). In a longer perspective, the collaborative work will generate new ideas on how to organize the structure of new materials, based on inspiration from the hierarchical nature of plant cell walls. In addition to improved post-harvest processing and creative materials design, the results obtained can be used as a basis for improving the fiber and wood quality during plant growth.
Biomimetics is an emerging field engaged in the design of bioinspired systems, materials, and their functionality to mimic biological systems. By learning from nature we can improve biocompatibility and engineer materials that have many different properties and increased functionality.
Enzyme technology can be used to modify plant fibers for a number of industrial applications. In addition to microbial enzymes, plants produce enzymes that can be used to tailor wood and fibre properties. The organized deposition of cellulose and other polysaccharides in plant cell walls is also an important, yet poorly understood process in plant biology.
The mechanical function in plant structures is primarily provided by nanocomposite materials. The reinforcing phase is cellulose in the form of nanoscale cellulose microfibrils.
The interfacial stability and the mechanical properties of composite materials depend on good association of the reinforcing unit with the matrix.