Plant Cell Wall Characterization Using Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus Citations


Lignocellulosic biomass is today considered a promising renewable resource for bioenergy production. A combined chemical and biological process is currently under consideration for the conversion of polysaccharides from plant cell wall materials, mainly cellulose and hemicelluloses, to simple sugars that can be fermented to biofuels. Native plant cellulose forms nanometer-scale microfibrils that are embedded in a polymeric network of hemicelluloses, pectins, and lignins; this explains, in part, the recalcitrance of biomass to deconstruction. The chemical and structural characteristics of these plant cell wall constituents remain largely unknown today. Scanning probe microscopy techniques, particularly atomic force microscopy and its application in characterizing plant cell wall structure, are reviewed here. We also further discuss future developments based on scanning probe microscopy techniques that combine linear and nonlinear optical techniques to characterize plant cell wall nanometer-scale structures, specifically apertureless near-field scanning optical microscopy and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-270-47375


  • lignocellulosic biomass
  • scanning probe microscopy (SPM)


Dive into the research topics of 'Plant Cell Wall Characterization Using Scanning Probe Microscopy Techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this