Marx Varenberg's award ceremony was held in Stockholm, Sweden, on September 9th and 28th for outstanding research in the field of forest and timber science.Professor Akira Isogai, Associate Professor Tsuguyuki Saito, and Dr. Yoshiharu Nishiyama, a former assistant professor and current senior researcher at the French National Institute of Science, received the award for the first time in Asia.
Although the amount of timber consumed in Japan in one year is almost the same as the amount of domestic production, the ratio of imported timber exceeds 1%.Due to the lack of effective use of thinned wood, research is being actively conducted to find new ways to use it.It is hoped that the use of thinned wood will be promoted from the perspectives of achieving the carbon dioxide reduction target by absorbing trees set by the Kyoto Protocol and revitalizing the local forestry industry.
In this research, Professor Isogai and his colleagues have developed a method for efficiently producing cellulose single nanofibers (CSNF) using cellulose obtained from domestic unused softwood.Cellulose is a collection of elongated molecules that make fibers.With conventional cellulose nanofibers, the number of molecules that gather varies, so it was only possible to make fibers with uneven thickness.Professor Isogai and his colleagues succeeded in making the molecule easier to disperse by using a catalyst called TEMPO.The result is CSNF, which is a fiber whose thickness is the same as that of one molecule.It is expected to be a substitute for glass material because it can be mixed with plastic to increase its strength while maintaining its transparency, and its use in the field of regenerative medicine is also being considered.
If thinned wood, which had only been discarded until now, can be used as a new material with high added value, not only will it improve economic efficiency, but it will also be new to the forestry industry, whose survival is threatened due to a serious shortage of successors. The wind may blow.