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Simon Vilms Pedersen is a 3rd year PhD-student at the University of Southern Denmark, DK. His research is centered around understanding the role of surface chemistry and surface physics of lignocellulosic biomasses on enzymatic hydrolysis. In March 2018 he received the EliteForsk-travel stipend from the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science.
Biomass characterization, in terms of surface topography and chemical composition of constituent biopolymers is of significant importance, both in industry and in research. Characterization at micron- and nano-scale is frequently done using microscopy techniques, including Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Confocal Fluorescence Microscopy and more recently, super-resolution fluorescence imaging has also been applied. A drawback of the canonical fluorescence microscopy techniques is that successful imaging and identification of constituent biopolymers in complex substrates is highly dependent on auto-fluorescing fluorophores, or specificity and efficiency of selected dyes and exogenously introduced fluorescent labels. Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) Microscopy is a third order optical process, which can be used to probe molecular vibrations inherent to the constituent biopolymers of the substrate, enabling chemically specific imaging. CARS is a multiphoton technique generating signals that are stronger than typical spontaneous Raman scattering, enabling video-rate data acquisition and optical sectioning. The purpose of this work was to conduct label-free imaging of rapeseed straw (B. napus), using Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) Microscopy, and characterize signal contributions from cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose present in the biomass. By spectral unmixing of the hyperspectral dataset collected, we aimed at extracting endmember spectras correlating to those of the major chemical constituents, cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose. This is a work in progress.