Maija Tenkanen

Person

Description of research and teaching

Our research is focusing on characterization, modification and utilization of polysaccharides, especially plant-derived hemicelluloses (xylans, mannans). Hemicelluloses constituting 25-30% of plant materials are the second most abundant plant polysaccharides after cellulose. Hemicelluloses consist of several structurally different polysaccharides that exist in the plant cell walls closely associated with cellulose. In spite of their abundance, hemicelluloses are not yet as effectively utilized as starch and cellulose. Unlike starch, hemiselluloses are not digested by humans, which makes them an interesting raw material both for food (dietary fibre, prebiotics) and chemical industries.

We work with xylans from cereals and woods as well as with different mannans. In addition we collaborate with cereal technologists in the beta-glucan research and are studying on exopolysaccharides, such as different dextrans produced by lactic acid bacteria. One of our aims is to understand better the structure - function relationships of polysaccharides. We are also interested on production of specific oligosaccharides using selective enzymatic hydrolysis, and preparation of films and nanocomposites from renewable hemicellulosic polymers. Enzymes are actively utilized as selective tools in analytics and for targeted modifications of polysaccharide structures and functionalities.  The research is done in close collaboration with food, wood, organic and polymer chemists, and food technologists. We work both in national and international collaborative projects funded by the Academy of Finland, Tekes, various foundations and EU. 

 

Presently the research focuses on the following topics of xylans, mannans and dextrans:

  • Chemical characterization
  • Structure-function relationships
  • Enzymatic modifications and degradation
  • Production and structure elucidation of oligosaccharides
  • Chemical modification and functionalization
  • Preparation of biodegradable films

More info: http://www.helsinki.fi/food-and-environment/research/groups/hemicellulose_research.html

 

 

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Curriculum Vitae

I was appointed as a professor of Bioproduction Chemistry at University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry in December 1, 2001. I started at my position in August 1, 2002. During 2004-2006 and 2014-2017 I was acting as the head of department and during 2010-2013 as the vice-head (reserach) of deparment. Presently I am the vice-dean (research) of the Faculty of Agriculture ad Forestry.

I have previously worked almost fifteen years at VTT Biotechnology as a graduate student, a scientist, a senior scientist and a group manager (Enzyme Technology). After that I was employed by KCL, Finnish Pulp and Paper Research Institute for one and a half years. As a PhD student I spent seven months as a visiting scientist at prof. Klibanov´s group, Department of Chemistry, MIT, USA.

My husband is Tuomas Tenkanen and we have three wonderful children, Tuula, Heidi and Sami. We live in Espoo near sea. When I was younger I played Ultimate frisbee in the Finnish national team but now my hobbies are mainly spending time on the cottage in summer and skiing and skating in winter.

 

Highlighted publications

  1. Lactose- and cellobiose-derived branched trisaccharides and a sucrose-containing trisaccharide produced by acceptor reactions of Weissella confusa dextransucrase

    Shi, Q., Juvonen, M. K., Hou, Y., Kajala, I., Nyyssölä, A., Maina, H. N., Maaheimo, H., Virkki, M-L. & Tenkanen, T. M., 2016, In : Food Chemistry. 109, January, p. 226-236 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. The impact of fermentation with exopolysaccharide producing lactic acid bacteria on rheological, chemical and sensory properties of pureed carrots (Daucus carota L)

    Juvonen, R., Honkapää, K., Maina, N. H., Shi, Q., Viljanen, K., Maaheimo, H., Virkki, L., Tenkanen, M. & Lantto, R., 2015, In : International Journal of Food Microbiology. 207 , p. 109-118 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  3. Combination of internal and external plasticization of hydroxypropylated birch xylan tailors the properties of sustainable barrier films

    Mikkonen, K. S., Laine, C., Kontro, I., Talja, R. A., Serimaa, R. & Tenkanen, M., 2015, In : European Polymer Journal. 66, p. 307-318 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  4. O-Acetylation of glucuronoxylan in Arabidopsis thaliana wild type and its change in xylan biosynthesis mutants

    Chong, S-L., Virkki, M-L., Maaheimo, H., Juvonen, M., Derba-Maceluch, M., Koutaniemi, S., Roach, M., Sundberg, B., Tuomainen, P., Mellerowicz, E. J. & Tenkanen, M., 2014, In : Glycobiology. 24, 6, p. 494-506 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  5. Enzymatic oxidation as a potential new route to produce polysaccharide aerogels

    Mikkonen, K. S., Parikka, K., Suuronen, J-P., Ghafar, A., Serimaa, R. & Tenkanen, M., 2014, In : RSC Advances. 4, 23, p. 11884-11892 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  6. Prospects of polysaccharide aerogels as modern advanced food materials

    Mikkonen, K., Parikka, K., Ghafar, A. & Tenkanen, M., 2013, In : Trends in Food Science & Technology. 34, 2, p. 124-136 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

  7. Structural analysis of linear mixed-linkage glucooligosaccharides by tandem mass spectrometry

    Maina, N., Juvonen, M., Domingues, R. M., Virkki, L., Jokela, J. & Tenkanen, M., 2013, In : Food Chemistry. 136, 3-4, p. 1496-1507 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  8. Sustainable food-packaging materials based on future biorefinery products: xylans and mannans

    Mikkonen, K. & Tenkanen, M., 2012, In : Trends in Food Science & Technology. 28, 2, p. 90-102 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

View all (155) »

Highlighted activities

  1. Organiser of the conference (chairman), 11th Carbohydrate Bioengineering Meeting

    Maija Tenkanen (Chair of organizing committee)
    10 May 201513 May 2015

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

  2. Graduate Programme for Biomass Refining (BIOREGS) (External organisation)

    Maija Tenkanen (Chair)
    20122013

    Activity: Membership typesMembership or other role in research network

  3. Supervision of PhD thesis, Sun-Li Chong

    Maija Tenkanen (Supervisor)
    20082014

    Activity: Examination typesSupervisor or co-supervisor of doctoral thesis

  4. Supervision of PhD thesis, Ndegwa Maina

    Maija Tenkanen (Supervisor)
    20062012

    Activity: Examination typesSupervisor or co-supervisor of doctoral thesis

  5. Opponent PhD Thesis, Mürside Kes

    Maija Tenkanen (Opponent)
    2013

    Activity: Examination typesOpponent of doctoral dissertation

  6. Speaker, 249th ACS National Meeting

    Maija Tenkanen (Speaker: Presenter)
    22 Mar 201526 Mar 2015

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

  7. Speaker, EWLP2014

    Maija Tenkanen (Speaker: Presenter)
    25 Jun 201427 Jun 2014

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

View all (178) »

Latest prizes

  1. Award, The Marcus Wallenberg prize

    Maija Tenkanen (Recipient), 2003

    Prize: Prizes and awards

View all (1) »

Latest projects

  1. BIOSEMBL: Transaminases for BIOcatalytic cascades for hemicellulose reasSEMBLy

    Tenkanen, M. & Master, E.

    01/11/201831/10/2021

    Project: Research project

  2. COCOA: Capturing oxidoreductases for carbohydrate oligomer activation

    Tenkanen, M., Chong, S., Kärkönen, A. & Master, E.

    01/09/201731/08/2020

    Project: Research project

  3. EIT Food KIC

    Tenkanen, M. & Vierikko, K.

    01/01/2017 → …

    Project: Other project

View all (30) »

ID: 74861