Dr. Stefan Hanstein

Curriculum vitae

Dr. Stefan Hanstein is a plant scientist, electrophysiologist and biochemist. He earned his Diploma in Biology in 1989. After three years of professional experience in a commercial biochemistry laboratory (symbio Herborn Group, Germany), he completed his PhD thesis in 1999 about physiological processes in the cell wall space (apoplast) of higher plants at Justus Liebig University (JLU), Giessen, Germany, in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen.

From 2002 to 2005, he was a team leader in an international, interdisciplinary collaboration project on sensor coatings. He conducted research on plant membranes and plant cell walls from 1997 to 2014 and worked as a lecturer from 2007 to 2013 at the Institute of Plant Nutrition at JLU. From 2002 to 2014, he was a project leader in the field of sensor development at TransMIT GmbH, Gießen, Germany.

Since 2014, he has been working at Fraunhofer IWKS as project leader for the sector Food and Bio-Based Materials, and was primary coordinator contact for the HyperBioCoat project. During his career, he already contributed to five patent applications.

Hemicelluloses from food processing residues as a feedstock for bio-based coatings

At least 13 million tons food processing residues (dry mass) are available in Germany as a potential feedstock for industrial polymers. The EU-funded project HyperBioCoat1 has demonstrated that hemi­celluloses extracted from fruit residues can be used as polymeric additives in barrier coatings on packaging materials for food and cosmetics rendering the coatings biodegradable. Hemicelluloses have good film-forming properties and share the economic potential of cellulose and starch as a feedstock for lacquers, paints, printing inks, paper additives and construction chemicals. A diverse range of chemical substitutions has been developed during the last 100 years ranging from traditional nitrocellulose for solvent-based lacquer systems to cationic starch derivatives as paper additives and further to neutral cellulose ethers for concrete. Substitution of a fossil-based polymer by a hemi­cellulose derivative eliminates the net CO2 release to the atmosphere when a material is broken down or combusted at the end of its life-cycle. Biogenic residues as a polymer source warrant that no additional cultivation area is needed. This is an important advantage since on our planet a little more than 1 ha cultivatable area (agriculture and forestry) is available for feeding one human being for one year. The branched structure of hemicelluloses improves the solubility in aqueous solution compared to cellulose enabling conversion processes in homogeneous systems in combination with state-of-the-art ultrafiltration technology. Thus hemicellulose derivatives meeting industry specifications should become available at competitive prices in the next decade.


HyperBioCoat received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720736. Website: hyperbiocoat.eu