Wood is well-known as a natural construction material. Beyond that, wood offers a lot of interesting properties. This accounts especially for the micro- and mesoscale where its hierarchy, anisotropy, porosity and fiber-reinforced composition make it an unique material. The aim of our work is adding new functionalities to wood, based on these characteristics, and thus creating novel hybrid materials. The basis of this work is the introduction of biopolymers for a bottom-up functionalization of wood materials. Modifying wood as a porous scaffold with biopolymers opens the door to novel advanced applications that are not known for the natural material wood so far.
Here we want to show the modification of wood with proteins. These biomolecules bear various functional groups. Some of these groups readily chelate with heavy metal ions. Hence, we functionalize the wood structure with protein to yield a hybrid material that can be used to clean contaminated water. All in all we present an easy and eco-friendly approach to produce a smart, natural-based material for water filtration. By using protein that can be gained from food industry waste and wood as a cheap natural resource, the new material is especially suited for application in third-world countries.