Beate Pfannemuller

Beate Pfannemüller (1920-2008): Expert on polysaccharides

Beate Pfannemüller

From the beginning of her doctoral thesis until her retirement, Beate Pfannemüller carried out research at the Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry at the University of Freiburg. She headed a large working group group, but was overshadowed by Nobel Prize winner Hermann Staudinger, especially at the beginning of her scientific Career .

Beate Pfannemüller (née Beutühr) was born on September 6, 1920 in Wiesbaden. After marrying the tropical medicine specialist Ludwig Pfannemüller (1915-2008), she took his name.
Pfannemüller passed her Abitur in Berlin in 1939 and received a scholarship to study in the USA after completing the Reich Labor Service. Since she could not start studying abroad because of the Second World War, she studied chemistry in Berlin. She completed her studies in 1944 with a diploma thesis on carbodiimides with Alfred Zetzsche.

In 1946 Pfannemüller began her doctoral thesis with Elfriede Husemann (1908-1975) at the Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry at the University of Freiburg. The subject of the dissertation was the sulfation of xylans, the second most common natural polysaccharides. Like her doctor's mother, Pfannemüller was also long in the shadow of Nobel Prize winner Hermann Staudinger (1881-1965), the founder of modern polymer chemistry, who taught and researched in Freiburg until 1956.

After successfully completing her doctorate, Pfannemüller stayed at the Freiburg Institute until her retirement in 1985, where she headed a large working group group. She developed into an expert in polysaccharide research with a focus on starch chemistry. In 1988 she received the Saare Medal, an award from the Grain Research Working Group , for her services in this field.

Beate Pfannemüller died on October 18, 2008 in Freiburg im Breisgau.



  • Kürschner's German Scholars Calendar, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin and New York, 12th edition, 1976, volume 1, p. 1373 and 14th edition, 1983, volume 3, p. 4830
  • P. Mischnick, Nachrichten aus der Chemie 53, 2005, p. 1076

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The texts published in this series do not claim to be scientific publications. Authors and other people involved are not experts in the history of science. The purpose of the series is to introduce the mostly unknown women chemists and to remind you of the well-known women chemists. We encourage readers who want to know more to study academic Literature on the women featured. In some cases there are detailed chemical-historical works.

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Photo: Nachrichten aus der Chemie 53, 2005, p. 1076

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last modified: 13.01.2022 12:29 H from K.J.Schmitz