Applications of Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy for Non-destructive Analysis of Plant Cell Walls and Engineered Soil Surrogates

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Werner, Mark Andrew
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 27, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Benjamin James Lear, Thesis Advisor
  • Thomas E Mallouk, Committee Member
  • David D Boehr, Committee Member
  • Michael John Janik, Committee Member
  • NMR
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • plant cell walls
  • cellulose
  • Engineered soil surrogates
  • hemicellulose
  • pectin
  • pesticides
  • probe molecules
  • cross polarization
Solid State NMR (SS-NMR) spectroscopy presents a widely applicable analytical method for probing interfaces and internal structure of highly complex systems. As samples are studied in powdered solid form, SS-NMR is a uniquely non-destructive technique, making it especially useful for studying naturally occurring systems without altering their chemical environment. Presented here are two preliminary studies that highlight this utility. First, a study is presented detailing the use of SS-NMR to study the internal polymer matrix of plant cell walls which are a valuable source of biofuels, but which are difficult to breakdown due to these complex polymer interactions. Second, SS-NMR was used to examine the surface chemistry of engineered soil surrogates treated with pesticide probe molecules. The complex chemistry of soils is perfectly suited to analysis by SS-NMR due to its ability to keep samples intact.