Abdul Ghafar


Description of research and teaching

Description of research

Polysaccharides are considered to be inexhaustible and renewable resources for modern industrial application as being bioactive, biocompatible and biodegradable.  Due to ever-increasing prices of petroleum-based polymers, more interest has been directed to polysaccharide-based materials. Hemicelluloses: polysaccharides, from the agriculture and forest industry and its potential utilization as a green and environment friendly material has not been yet fully explored. 

Aerogels are diverse class of porous, solid materials with low weight and density, high surface area, and high mechanical properties. Aerogel is formed by the removal of liquid from a gel, e.g., evaporation of water from a hydrogel. The liquid phase is replaced with air using techniques that maintain the gel structure, enabling the formation of porous materials.


To prepare a Polysaccharide aerogel, first polysaccharides are dissolved into water to make a hydrogel and then water is removed using freeze drying; a process called sublimation, which maintains the structure of gel. The proposed research focuses on the development of novel functional materials from upgraded biopolymers: polysaccharide aerogels. The potential of polysaccharide aerogels is great due to their high water absorption capacity, safety, renewability, sustainability, and low cost. Thus new polysaccharide-based aerogels could find applications as water absorbents, providing mechanical support, biocompatible delivery systems, and encapsulation of active components, such as antioxidants.


Curriculum Vitae

Current position:

Doctoral Researcher, Department of Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki (2013→)

Degrees awarded:

Master of Erasmus Mundus Food of Life (Major: Food Technology) University of Helsinki, Finland and University of Copenhagen, Denmark (2010-2012)

MSc (Hons.) Food Technology, National Institute of Food Science and Technolgoy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan (2008-2010)

BSc (Hons.) Agri, Major: Food Science & Technology, National Institute of Food Science and Technolgoy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan (2004-2008)

Latest publications


    Ghafar, A., 2018, Helsinki: Helsingin yliopisto.

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

  2. Laccase/TEMPO oxidation in the production of mechanically strong arabinoxylan and glucomannan aerogels

    Parikka, K. M., Nikkilä, I. E., Pitkänen, L. M., Ghafar, A., Sontag-Strohm, T. S. & Tenkanen, T. M., 2017, In : Carbohydrate Polymers. 175, p. 377-386 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  3. Mesoporous guar galactomannan based biocomposite aerogels through enzymatic crosslinking

    Ghafar, A., Gurikov, P., Subrahmanyam, R., Parikka, K. M., Tenkanen, T. M., Smirnova, I. & Mikkonen, K. S., 2017, In : Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing. 94, p. 93-103

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Latest activities

  1. Teaching assistant for ET825 Food Structure Laboratory Works

    Abdul Ghafar (Participant)
    Dec 2016

    Activity: Other activity typesOther

  2. International Seminar on Aerogels: synthesis, properties, applications

    Abdul Ghafar (Speaker: Presenter)
    22 Sep 201623 Sep 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  3. Teaching assistant (lab course ET455)

    Abdul Ghafar (Participant)
    Sep 2016Oct 2016

    Activity: Other activity typesOther

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Latest prizes

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ID: 25879673