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Plant biotechnology

Get one step ahead and utilise novel, naturally produced functional plant-based bioactives and ingredients

We develop plants, plant cells and algae for the sustainable production of biomass, ingredients, high-value chemicals and proteins that you are interested in.

The benefits of our approach are a sustainable supply, safe and contained production processes resulting in economical and eco-friendly products.

Efficient exploitation of renewable resources ensures a competitive edge and allows IP generation.

“Cooperation with VTT has been extremely productive,” says Tiina Isohanni, LUMENE Oy’s Vice President, Innovation & Development, “and we have been able to significantly expand our raw material selection through the possibilities offered by biotechnology. We are already planning to continue our collaboration in new projects”.

Comprehensive expertise

Our unique expertise covers the whole innovation chain from the idea to the final product.
We offer plant cell culture technology up to industrial scale. Product development can be facilitated by metabolic engineering including synthetic biology integrated with comprehensive chemical characterisation by state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation.

Additional areas of competence are biotransformation, cryopreservation of plant cells and bioactivity testing. Our most valuable plant cell culture lines are available in VTT's culture collection.

The most significant research areas focus on plant and marine natural compounds, therapeutic proteins and exploitation of Nordic biodiversity, e.g. berries.

Unique setting

The most important resources are: plant culture collection; aseptic working areas; modular molecular biology tools; bioreactors (steel tank, glass, disposable); growth rooms, greenhouse and incubators; cryostorage; analytical infrastructure (including UPLC-MS, GC-MS, GCxGC-ToF).

We are well networked within EPSO (European Plant Science Organisation), the International Society for Plant Molecular Farming, EU COST Actions and the Finnish Doctoral Programme in Plant Sciences.

Projects relate to the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, beverage and feed, malting and brewing, flavour and fragrance industries. Currently most activities are in the cosmetic and the flavour and fragrance sectors.

​Scientific publications



Fermentation and dry fractionation increase bioactivity of cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus)
Puupponen-Pimiä, R., Nohynek, L., Juvonen, R., Kössö, T., Truchado, P., Westerlund-Wikström, B., Leppänen, T., Moilanen, E. & Oksman-Caldentey, K.-M.
Food Chemistry 2016 Apr 15;197(PtA):950-958. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.11.061


Continuous flow separation of hydrophobin fusion proteins from plant cell culture extract.
Reuter, L., Conley, A. & Joensuu, J.J.
Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2016;1385:189-197. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-3289-4_14


The N-glycan on Asn54 affects the atypical N-glycan composition of plant-produced interleukin-22, but does not influence its activity
Wilbers, R.,  Westerhof, L., Reuter, L., Castilho, A., van Raaij, D., Nguyen, D., Lozano-Torres, J., Smant, G., Hokke, C., Bakker, J. & Schots, A.
Plant Biotechnol Journal 2016 Feb; 14(2):670-81. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12414




Nile Red staining of phytoplankton neutral lipids: species-specific fluorescence kinetics in various solvents
Natunen K, Seppälä J, Schwenk D, Rischer H, Spilling K, Tamminen T.
Journal of Applied Phycology 2015;27(3):1161-1168. doi:10.1007/s10811-014-0404-5


Analysis of beers from an 1840s' shipwreck
Londesborough, J., Dresel, M., Gibson, B., Holopainen, U., Mikkelson, A., Seppänen-Laakso, T., Viljanen, K., Virtanen, H., Wilpola, A., Kivilompolo, M., Hoffmann, T. & Wilhelmson, A.
 Journal of Agricultaral Food Chemistry 2015 Mar 11;63(9): 2525-2536. doi: 10.1021/jf5052943


Optimization of invasion-specific effects of betulin derivatives on prostate cancer cells through lead development
Härmä, V.V., Havikko, R., Virtanen, J. Ahonen, I., Alakurtti, S., Schukov, H.-P., Purev, E., Rischer, H., Yli-Kauhaluoma, J, Moreira, V.M., Nees, M. & Oksman-Caldentey, K.-M.
PloS One 2015 May 12;10(5):e0126111. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126111


Determination of terpenoid indole alkaloids in hairy roots of Rhazya stricta (Apocynaceae) by gas chromatography- mass spectroscopy
Akhgari, A., Laakso, I., Seppänen-Laakso, T., Yrjönen, T., Vuorela, H., Oksman-Caldentey, K.-M. & Rischer, H. (2015):
Phytochemical Analysis 2015 Sep-Oct; 26(5): 331-338. doi: 10.1002/pca.2567


Physicochemical characterization of sahti, an "ancient" beer style indigenous in Finland
Ekberg, J., Gibson, B., Joensuu, J., Krogerus, K., Magalhaes, F., Mikkelson, A., Seppänen-Laakso, T. & Wilpola, A.
Journal of The Institute of Brewing 11 Sep 2015 121: 464-473. doi: 10.1002/jib.246


Bioactivity and chemical characterization of gonads of green sea urchin Strogylocentrotus droebachiensis from Barents Sea
Pozharitskaya, O.N., Shikov, A.N., Laakso, I., Seppänen-Laakso, T., Makarenko, I.E., Faustova, N.M., Makarova, M.N. & Makarov, V.G.
Journal of Functional Foods 17, August 2015: 227-234. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2015.05.030


The bHLH factor BIS1 regulates the seco-iridoid pathway branch of monoterpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus.
Van Moerkercke, A., Steensma, P., Schweizer, F., Pollier, J., Gariboldi, I., Payne, R. Vanden Bosschem, R., Miettinen, K., Espoz, J., Candra Purnama, P., Kellner, F., Seppänen-Laakso, T., O'Connor, S., Rischer, H., Memelink, J. & Goossens, A.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2015 Jun 30;112(26):8130-8135. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1504951112


Establishment of transgenic Rhazya stricta hairy roots to modulate terpenoid indole alkaloid production
Akhgari, A., Yrjönen, T., Laakso, I., Vuorela, H., Oksman-Caldentey, K.-M. & Rischer, H.
Plant Cell Reports 2015 Nov;34(11):1939-1952. doi: 10.1007/s00299-015-1841-6


Polyketide synthases from poison hemlock (Conium maculatum L.)
Hotti, H., Seppänen-Laakso, T., Arvas, M., Teeri, T. & Rischer, H.
The FEBS Journal 2015 Nov;282(21):4141-4156. doi: 10.1111/febs.13410


Standards for plant Synthetic Biology:  A common syntax for exchange of DNAparts
Patron, N.J., Orzaez, D., Marillonnet, S., Warzecha, H., Matthewman, C., Youles, M., Raitskin O., Leveau, A., Farré, G., Rogers, C., Smith, A., Hibberd, J., Webb, A.A.R., Locke, J., Schornack, S., Ajioka, J., Baulcombe D.C., Zipfel, C.,  Kamoun, S., Jones, J.D.G., Kuhn, H., Robatzek, S., Van Esse, H.P. ,Oldroyd, G., Martin, C., Field, R., O'Connor, S., Fox, S., Wulff, B., Miller, B., Breakspear, A., Radhakrishnan, G., Delaux, P.-M., Loque, D., Granell A., Tissier, A., Shih, P., Brutnell, T.P., Quick, P., Rischer, H., Fraser, P.D., Aharoni, A., Raines, C., South, P., Ané, J.-M., Hamberger, B.R., Langdale, J., Stougaard, J., Bouwmeester, H., Udvardi, M., Murray, J.A.H., Osbourn A. & J. Haseloff, J.  
The New Phytologist 2015 Oct;208(1): 13-19. doi: 10.1111/nph.13532


Elicitation of furanocoumarins in poison hemlock (Conium maculatum L.) cell culture.
Meier, P., Hotti, H. & Rischer H.
Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture (PCTOC) 2015 Dec;123(3):443-453. doi:10. 1007/ s11240-015-0847-7


Bioconversion to raspberry ketone is achieved by several non-related plant cell cultures
Häkkinen, S.T., Seppänen-Laakso, T., Oksman-Caldentey, K.-M. & Rischer, H.
Frontiers Plant Sci. 2015 Nov 24;6:1035. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.01035


Increased dihydroceramide/ceramide ratio mediated by defective expression of degs1 impairs adipocyte differentiation and function
Barbarroja, N., Rodrigues-Cuenca, S., Nygren, H., Camargo, A., Pirraco, A., Relat, J., Cuadrado, I., Pellegrinelli, V., Medina-Gomez, G., Lopez-Pedrera, C., Tinahones, F.J., Symons, J.D., Summers, S.A., Oresic, M. & Vidal-Puig, A.
Diabetes 2015 Apr;64(4):1180-1192. doi: 10.2337/db14-0359


Harvinaisten ja vaikeasti syntetisoitavien lääkeyhdisteiden tuottaminen kasvibiotekniikan keinoin
Häkkinen, S.T., Oksman-Caldentey, K.-M., Ritala, A.
Dosis 2015 vol 31: 162-169


Analysis of indole alkaloids from Rhazya stricta hairy roots by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
Akhgari, A., Laakso , I., Seppänen-Laakso, T., Yrjönen, T., Vuorela, H., Oksman-Caldentey, K.-M. & H. Rischer
Molecules 2015 Dec 17;20(12):22621-22634. doi: 10.3390/molecules201219873


Biotechnology of the medicinal plant, Rhazya stricta
Akhgari, A
Dosis 2015 Vol 31: 207-214


Serum lipid and serum metabolite components in relation to anthropometric parameters in EPIC-Potsdam participants.
Foerster, J., Hyötyläinen, T., Oresic, M., Nygren, H., Boeing, H.
Metabolism 2015 Oct;64(10):1348-1358. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2015.07.004


Disposable bioreactors for the cultivation of plant cell cultures.
Lehmann N, Dittler I, Lämsä M, Ritala A, Rischer H, Eibl D, Oksman-Caldentey K-M, Eibl R.
In: Production of biomass and bioactive compounds using bioreactor technology.
Paek KY, Murthy HN, Zhong JJ (eds.)
Springer Science + Business Media B.V., Dordrecht (in press)


Nile Red staining of phytoplankton neutral lipids: species-specific fluorescence kinetics in various solvents
Natunen K, Seppälä J, Schwenk D, Rischer H, Spilling K, Tamminen T.
Journal of Applied Phycology. (2014) doi:10.1007/s10811-014-0404-5

The seco-iridoid pathway from Catharanthus roseus.
Miettinen K, Dong L, Navrot N, Schneider T, Burlat V, Pollier J, Woittiez L, van der Krol S, Lugan R, Ilc T, Verpoorte R, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Martinoia E, Bouwmeester H, Goossens A, Memelink J, Werck-Reichhart D.
Nat Commun. 2014 Apr 7;5:3606. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4606.

Ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry in Lipidomics.
Nygren H, Pöhö, P; Seppänen-Laakso T, Lahtinen U, Oresic M, Hyötyläinen T.
LCGC North America. Advanstar Communications Inc. (2010) vol. 32:4, pp. 286-293.
Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) cell culture with bioactive substances: Establishment and mass propagation for industrial use.
Nohynek L, Bailey M, Tähtiharju J, Seppänen-Laakso T, Rischer H, Oksman-Caldentey K-M, Puupponen-Pimiä R.
Engineering in Life Sciences. (2014) vol. 14:6, pp. 667-675. doi:10.1002/elsc.201400069

Molecular pharming in plants and plant cell cultures: a great future ahead?
Ritala A, Häkkinen ST, Schillberg S.
Pharmaceutical bioprocessing. (2014) vol. 2:3, pp. 223-226. doi:10.4155/PBP.14.21

Selection and validation of reference genes for transcript normalization in gene expression studies in Catharanthus roseus.
Pollier J, Vanden Bossche R, Rischer H, Goossens A.
Plant Physiol Biochem. 2014 Oct;83:20-5. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2014.07.004. Epub 2014 Jul 10.

Quorum sensing signalling and biofilm formation of brewery-derived bacteria, and inhibition of signalling by natural compounds.
Priha O, Virkajärvi V, Juvonen R, Puupponen-Pimiä R, Nohynek L, Alakurtti S, Pirttimaa M, Storgårds E.
Curr Microbiol. 2014 Nov;69(5):617-27. doi: 10.1007/s00284-014-0627-3. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Algae-bacteria association inferred by 16S rDNA similarity in established microalgae cultures.
Schwenk D, Nohynek L, Rischer H.
Microbiologyopen. 2014 Jun;3(3):356-68. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.175. Epub 2014 May 5.

Evaluation of tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv. Petit Havana SR1) hairy roots for the production of geraniol, the first committed step in terpenoid indole alkaloid pathway.
Ritala A, Dong L, Imseng N, Seppänen-Laakso T, Vasilev N, van der Krol S, Rischer H, Maaheimo H, Virkki A, Brändli J, Schillberg S, Eibl R, Bouwmeester H, Oksman-Caldentey KM.
J Biotechnol. 2014 Apr 20;176:20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2014.01.031. Epub 2014 Feb 14.

Relation of sensory perception with chemical composition of bioprocessed lingonberry.
Viljanen K, Heiniö RL, Juvonen R, Kössö T, Puupponen-Pimiä R.
Food Chem. 2014 Aug 15;157:148-56. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.02.030. Epub 2014 Feb 14.

Comparison of plant-based expression platforms for the heterologous production of geraniol.
Vasilev N, Schmitz C, Dong L, Ritala A, Imseng N, Häkkinen S, van der Krol S, Eibl R, Oksman-Caldentey K-M, Bouwmeester H, Fischer R, Schillberg S.
Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture. (2014) vol. 117:3, pp. 373-380. doi:10.1007/s11240-014-0446-z

Recombinant barley-produced antibody for detection and immunoprecipitation of the major bovine milk allergen, β-lactoglobulin.
Ritala A, Leelavathi S, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Reddy VS, Laukkanen ML.
Transgenic Res. 2014 Jun;23(3):477-87. doi: 10.1007/s11248-014-9783-2. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

Phenolic metabolites as compliance biomarker for polyphenol intake in a randomized controlled human intervention.
Vetrani C, Rivellese AA, Annuzzi G, Mattila I, Meudec E, Hyötyläinen T, Oresic M, Aura A-M.
Food Research International. (2014) vol. 63 Part B, pp. 233 - 238. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2014.01.018

Metabolic flux phenotype of tobacco hairy roots engineered for increased geraniol production.
Masakapalli SK, Ritala A, Dong L, van der Krol AR, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Ratcliffe RG, Sweetlove LJ.
Phytochemistry. 2014 Mar;99:73-85. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2013.12.007. Epub 2014 Jan 25.

Reduction of subacute endotoxemia could mediate beneficial effects of Vaccinium myrtillus in metabolic syndrome - A PBMC gene expression study.
Mykkänen OT, Kirjavainen PV, Pulkkinen L, Mykkänen H, Törrönen R, Kolehmainen M, Adriaens M, Laaksonen DE, Puupponen-Pimiä R, Poutanen K.
Acta Horticulturae. (2014) vol. 1017, pp. 369 - 380. ISBN 978-946261002-6

Scale-up of hydrophobin-assisted recombinant protein production in tobacco BY-2 suspension cells.
Reuter LJ, Bailey MJ, Joensuu JJ, Ritala A.
Plant Biotechnol J. 2014 May;12(4):402-10. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12147. Epub 2013 Dec 17.

Molecular farming in tobacco hairy roots by triggering the secretion of a pharmaceutical antibody.
Häkkinen ST, Raven N, Henquet M, Laukkanen ML, Anderlei T, Pitkänen JP, Twyman RM, Bosch D, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Schillberg S, Ritala A.
Biotechnol Bioeng. 2014 Feb;111(2):336-46. doi: 10.1002/bit.25113. Epub 2013 Sep 24.


Analysis of the interface between primary and secondary metabolism in Catharanthus roseus cell cultures using (13)C-stable isotope feeding and coupled mass spectrometry.
Antonio C, Mustafa NR, Osorio S, Tohge T, Giavalisco P, Willmitzer L, Rischer H, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Verpoorte R, Fernie AR.
Mol Plant. 2013 Mar;6(2):581-4. doi: 10.1093/mp/sss156. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Wave-mixed and orbitally shaken single-use photobioreactors for diatom algae propagation.
Lehmann N, Rischer H, Eibl D, Eibl R.
Chemie Ingenieur Technik.(2013) 85: 1–6. DOI:10.1002/cite.201200137

The effect of high pH on structural lipids in diatoms.
Spilling K, Brynjólfsdóttir Á, Enss D, Rischer H, Svavarsson HG.
J. Appl. Phycol. (2013) 25:1435–1439. DOI 10.1007/s10811-012-9971-5
Metabolic engineering of plant secondary products: which way forward?
Miralpeix B, Rischer H, Häkkinen ST, Ritala A, Seppänen-Laakso T, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Capell T, Christou P.
Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(31):5622-39.

CathaCyc, a metabolic pathway database built from Catharanthus roseus RNA-Seq data.
Van Moerkercke A, Fabris M, Pollier J, Baart GJ, Rombauts S, Hasnain G, Rischer H, Memelink J, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Goossens A.
Plant Cell Physiol. 2013 May;54(5):673-85. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pct039. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Effects of ellagitannin-rich berries on blood lipids, gut microbiota, and urolithin production in human subjects with symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
Puupponen-Pimiä R, Seppänen-Laakso T, Kankainen M, Maukonen J, Törrönen R, Kolehmainen M, Leppänen T, Moilanen E, Nohynek L, Aura AM, Poutanen K, Tómas-Barberán FA, Espín JC, Oksman-Caldentey KM.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Dec;57(12):2258-63. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300280. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Plant cells as pharmaceutical factories.
Rischer H, Häkkinen ST, Ritala A, Seppänen-Laakso T, Miralpeix B, Capell T, Christou P, Oksman-Caldentey KM.
Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(31):5640-60.

Lipid production in 19 brackish and marine microalgae: influence by growth phase, salinity and temperature.
Schwenk D, Seppälä J, Spilling K, Virkki A, Tamminen T, Oksman-Caldentey K-M, Rischer H.
Aquat. Ecol. (2013) 47: 415-424. DOI 10.1007/s10452-013-9454-z

Mixotrophic continuous flow cultivation of Chlorella protothecoides for lipids.
Wang Y, Rischer H, Eriksen NT, Wiebe MG.
Bioresour Technol. 2013 Sep;144:608-14. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2013.07.027. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Medicinal Plants, engineering of secondary metabolites in cell cultures.
Häkkinen ST, Ritala A, Rischer H, Oksman-Caldentey K-M.
(2013) pp.1182-1200.
In: Encyclopedia of sustainability science and technology.
P. Christou & R. Savin (Section eds.)
Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, DOI:10.1007/SpringerReference_30127, ISBN: 978-1-4614-5796-1.


In-depth proteome mining of cultured Catharanthus roseus cells identifies candidate proteins involved in the synthesis and transport of secondary metabolites.
Champagne A, Rischer H, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Boutry M.
Proteomics. 2012 Dec;12(23-24):3536-47. doi: 10.1002/pmic.201200218. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Differential patterns of dehydroabietic acid biotransformation by Nicotiana tabacum and Catharanthus roseus cells.
Häkkinen ST, Lackman P, Nygrén H, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Maaheimo H, Rischer H.
J Biotechnol. 2012 Jan 20;157(2):287-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2011.11.008. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

Production of tropane alkaloids in diploid and tetraploid plants and in vitro hairy root cultures of Egyptian henbane (Hyoscyamus muticus L.).
Dehghan E, Häkkinen ST, Oksman-Caldentey K-M, Shariari F.
Plant Cell Tissue Org. Cult. (2012) 110: 35-44. DOI 10.1007/s11240-012-0127-8.

Bilberries reduce low-grade inflammation in individuals with features of metabolic syndrome.
Kolehmainen M, Mykkänen O, Kirjavainen PV, Leppänen T, Moilanen E, Adriaens M, Laaksonen DE, Hallikainen M, Puupponen-Pimiä R, Pulkkinen L, Mykkänen H, Gylling H, Poutanen K, Törrönen R.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 Oct;56(10):1501-10. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200195. Epub 2012 Sep 7.


Drug metabolome of the simvastatin formed by human intestinal microbiota in vitro.
Aura AM, Mattila I, Hyötyläinen T, Gopalacharyulu P, Bounsaythip C, Orešič M, Oksman-Caldentey KM.
Mol Biosyst. 2011 Feb;7(2):437-46. doi: 10.1039/c0mb00023j. Epub 2010 Nov 8.

Jasmonate signaling involves the abscisic acid receptor PYL4 to regulate metabolic reprogramming in Arabidopsis and tobacco.
Lackman P, González-Guzmán M, Tilleman S, Carqueijeiro I, Pérez AC, Moses T, Seo M, Kanno Y, Häkkinen ST, Van Montagu MC, Thevelein JM, Maaheimo H, Oksman-Caldentey KM, Rodriguez PL, Rischer H, Goossens A.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 5;108(14):5891-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1103010108. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and European cranberry (Vaccinium microcarpon) proanthocyanidins: isolation, identification, and bioactivities.
Kylli P, Nohynek L, Puupponen-Pimiä R, Westerlund-Wikström B, Leppänen T, Welling J, Moilanen E, Heinonen M.
J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Apr 13;59(7):3373-84. doi: 10.1021/jf104621e. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Engineering of secondary metabolites in cell cultures of medicinal plants.
Häkkinen ST, Ritala A, Rischer H, Oksman-Caldentey K-M.
In: Encyclopedia of sustainability science and technology – section crop science and technology, (2011)
Christou P, Savin R (eds.), Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.


Evidence for species differentiation within the Ancistrocladus tectorius complex (Ancistrocladaceae) in Southeast Asia: A molecular approach.
Meimberg M, Rischer H, Turini FG, Chamchumroon V, Dreyer M, Sommaro M, Bringmann G, Heubl G.
Plant Syst. Evol. (2010) 284: 77-98. DOI 10.1007/s00606-009-0241-1

Propagation of Triphyophyllum peltatum (Dioncophyllaceae) and observations on its carnivory.
Rembold K, Irmer A, Poppinga S, Rischer H, Bringmann G.
Carnivorous Plant Newsletter (2010) 39: 71-77.

Rowanberry phenolics: compositional analysis and bioactivities.
Kylli P, Nohynek L, Puupponen-Pimiä R, Westerlund-Wikström B, McDougall G, Stewart D, Heinonen M.
J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Nov 24;58(22):11985-92. doi: 10.1021/jf102739v. Epub 2010 Nov 1.
Culture establishment, plant cell.
Eibl R, Eibl D, Rischer H, Ritala A, Oksman-Caldentey K-M
(2010) pp. 1-11.
In: Encyclopedia of industrial biotechnology: Bioprocess, bioseparation and cell technology.
M.C. Flickinger (ed.)
John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, DOI 10.1002/9780470054581.eib 247 (ISBN 978-0-471-79930-6).

Medicinal compounds produced in plant cell factories.
Häkkinen ST, Ritala A.
(2010) pp. 13-35.
In: Medicinal Plant Biotechnology.
Arora R (ed.)
CAB International, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.


Heiko Rischer Heiko Rischer

I am a Biologist (University of Hohenheim, Germany) with PhD in natural product chemistry (University of Wuerzburg, Germany) who has joined VTT in 2002. Further academic merits include an EU-funded postdoc position (Marie Curie Program) and a Docentship (Adjunct Professorship) in Pharmaceutical Biology (University of Helsinki, Finland). Beside the administrative tasks as Research Team Leader I act as Principal Scientist following my main research interest that revolves around the biosynthesis of plant secondary metabolites and their industrial utilisation. I am experienced in the analysis of secondary metabolites including metabolic profiling, plant cell and tissue culture techniques and the biotechnological production of phytopharmaceuticals and other plant-derived compounds incl. industrial bioreactor processes.

Anneli RitalaAnneli Ritala

I am a long-term (since 1995) VTT staff member having my background in Pharmacy: MSc in 1991, PhD (Pharm.) in 1996 and Docent in Pharmaceutical biology in 2009 - all at University of Helsinki. My main research topic as a Principal Scientist at Plant Biotechnology team is currently plant molecular farming including both recombinant proteins and secondary metabolites. Throughout all my working years at VTT, I have managed to work with barley - first with developing genetic engineering tools for barley, then using barley as host for molecular farming applications and lately with malting and brewing related industrial projects. I have passion for project management and since 2011 I have been an IPMA certified (C level) Project Manager.

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Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä

My research activities have focused to Nordic berry species and their bioactive compounds, especially phenolic secondary metabolites and their utilization in industrial applications in cosmetics and foods. I am interested in health effects of berries, especially antimicrobial activity of the Nordic berries has been one of our key research areas for several years. I am also involved in development of bioprocessing and fractionation technologies for berries in order to develop bioactive ingredients for the industry. Recently cell culture technology, and in general biotechnology of Nordic plant species, especially berry species and Finnish silver birch, has been an important field of my research. Since 2010 I have actively participated in commercialization of the berry research of VTT. I received my PhD in plant biotechnology from Helsinki University of Technology in 1995 (currently Aalto University) and Docent (Adjunct professor) in Pharmaceutical Biology, University of Helsinki in 2009.

Liisa NohynekLiisa Nohynek

I started at VTT at 1988 in Probiotics–team, and I received my PhD in microbiology at 1999 from University of Helsinki. During my early years at VTT I was investigating viability and growth properties of both beneficial and harmful human microbes. In addition, I was studying industrial spoilage microbes and their control.  My special interest on antimicrobial activities of Nordic berries brought me to the Plant Biotechnology team at 2004, to investigate antimicrobial activities of plant based material, microalgae and plant cell cultures as well as their metabolites, e.g. phenolic compounds. My areas of expertise in plant biotechnology include establishment, cultivation and characterization of plant cell cultures, especially of Nordic berry species, and scaling-up processes enabling large-scale production of plant cell cultures and their metabolites with bioactivities for industrial applications.

Suvi HäkkinenSuvi Häkkinen

I have a special expertise in plant metabolic engineering and natural compound research. I received my PhD in Helsinki University of Technology (currently Aalto University) related to plant functional genomics and medicinal plants. I have over 15 years’ experience on working with plant secondary metabolite research, recombinant protein production and bioconversion of small molecules using plant cells in various national and international R&D projects. Currently I am interested in using plant cells as factories for production of various industrially relevant compounds. I have expertise in experimental design and plant modular cloning technologies.

Elviira KärkkäinenElviira Kärkkäinen

I am an enthusiastic research scientist with my key expertise in large-scale cultivation of plant cells, process optimization and scaling up. I have received my MSc in technology degree at Tampere University of Technology (currently Tampere University) in 2018. I am interested in experimental design and high throughput tools for more effective process development.

Kirsi-Marja Oksman-CaldenteyKirsi-Marja Oksman-Caldentey

I am heading VTT’s Industrial Biotechnology research area with close to 100 scientists and technicians. I received my PhD in pharmaceutical biology from the University of Helsinki where I am currently an adjunct professor. I had been working both in academia and the international pharmaceutical industry before joining VTT about 18 years ago. I have a long experience in plant biotechnology especially in plant cell and tissue culture techniques, biologically active compounds, understanding and engineering of plant secondary metabolite pathways as well as in molecular farming. Over the years at VTT I have managed or been involved in several research and industrial projects. I am the scientific founder of VTT’s first spin-off company SoluCel. During the years 2009-2013 I coordinated the large EU-funded research project called SmartCell and also a COST Action on Molecular Farming (2008-2013).

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Heli NygrenHeli Nygren

I am specialised on analytical chemistry and I have specific expertise in chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques applied to study cellular metabolism. After my M.Sc. in Analytical chemistry (University of Helsinki) I received my PhD in 2000 in the field of biomarker research (Molecular epidemiology) from Karolinska Institute, Sweden. Thereafter I worked several years as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry in the fields of drug metabolism & development and with the related analytical method development. I joined VTT in 2009 and specialised in method development for metabolite analyses, metabolomics, mass spectrometry based identification of natural compounds as well as in the processing and analysis of metabolomics data.

Tuulikki Seppänen-LaaksoTuulikki Seppänen-Laakso

Lipids and fatty acids have been my passion through my whole research span. My background is in Pharmaceutical biology/ Pharmacognosy/ Pharmaceutical chemistry and I received my PhD and docentship in 2004 from the Faculty of Pharmacy (University of Helsinki) in the field of essential fatty acids, their analytics and human metabolism. I joined VTT in 2001 after a 13-years’ research and teaching period at the University. At VTT I have specialized in mass spectrometry based lipidomics and metabolomics. Analysis of natural bioactive compounds like phenolics, alkaloids and volatiles from dietary sources and side streams as well as from cell cultures belong to my expertise.