Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Dr. Holger Klose | RWTH Aachen | Institute for Botany and Molecular Genetics

The plant cell wall is the main research interest of Holger Klose. This natural barrier serves to prevent pathogens from entering the cell, but as well is a promising resource to be further utilized as feedstock. In both cases the structure and composition of the cell wall play a crucial role, and thus the genetic basis of its biosynthesis.

Holger Klose studied Biotechnology at RWTH Aachen and subsequently did his PhD in the group of Dr. Ulrich Commandeur. In the frame of his PhD thesis he achieved to modify the plant wall by directed expression of cellulases.

In 2014 he started as a postdoc at the chair of Prof. Björn Usadel at the Institute for Botany and Molecular Genetics at RWTH Aachen University and worked as an investigator in the BOOST FUND-Project EnZiP, which addressed the simplification of plant biomass processing. Then, from 2014 to 2016, he was coordinator of the BOOST FUND-Projects OrCaCel, being an interdisciplinary cooperation project with the chair of Prof. Walter Leitner (RWTH Aachen, ITMC - Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry) and Prof. Ulrich Schurr (FZ Jülich, IBG-2 – Plant Science). The project dealt with testing different cultivation conditions for perennial plants and subsequent fractionation of the plant biomass by applying the OrganoCat-Process, which was developed at RWTH Aachen. In the frame of this project Holger’s group analysed the cell wall composition and its effect on product yield.

The recalcitrance of plant cell walls against enzymatic digestion as well as acid and steam treatment is on the one hand determined by its quantitative composition, e.g. the proportions of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, and on the other hand by its qualitative composition, that is the branching and length of polymers and the type of chemical bonds. These properties can be examined either by chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis or by immunostaining of specific epitopes. Then, further analyses of genetic basis for cell wall composition can be carried out by genome wide association studies.

Since 2017 Holger Klose is head of the FocusLab AP3 which aims to establish a novel biorefinery concept for the sustainable processing of perennial biomass using the the OrganoCat technology, including economic and societal evaluiation of the whole process. Furthermore, he is one of two partners in the consortium of the SEED FUND-Project BioDeg. This project aims to develop tailored recombinant enzymes sets constituting an ensemble of lignin- and cellulose-degrading fungal enzymes for efficient breakdown of different types of biomass.

Further research interests of Holger are the cell wall composition in different types of rapeseed which are infested with Verticillium in the BOOST FUND-project PlaMint and the cell wall composition of tomato plants. Moreover, he is investigating the structure and composition of seed mucilage, a pectin-based layer on seeds which can influence seed quality  e.g. for oil production.

Two postdocs and two PhD students are currently working in the group of Holger Klose.


Dr. rer. nat. Holger Klose

Head of Research | Alternative Biomasss
Institute of Bio- and Geosciences - Plant Sciences
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
52425 Jülich Germany
Phone: +49 2461 61 3334
Fax: +49-2461 61 2492