Reetta Kivelä


Curriculum Vitae

Academic & Professional Background

Reetta Kivelä made her master degree in Food Chemistry in University of Helsinki. After that she worked as a chemist in a commune laboratory and as a project manager in food industry. Currently, she is finishing her doctoral degree studies in the Cereal Technology Group of University of Helsinki. During the doctoral studies she visited in laboratory of pulp and paper chemistry of University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (Vienna, Austria), and has been in close collaboration with the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health of ETH Zurich and several other laboratories from Finland and abroad. Short academic education and professional career CV:

  • M.Sc. (Food Chemistry), University of Helsinki 2003
  • Ao. Chemist, Food and Environmental laboratory of Hämeenlinna area 2004
  • Project technologist, Atria OYJ 2004-2005
  • Project manager, Atria OYJ 2005-2007
  • Doctoral Student, University of Helsinki, 2007-2011
  • Academic visitor, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (Austria) 2010.

Research Summary

Reetta Kivelä’s research focuses on the bioactivity and functionality of food polysaccharides, particularly of cereal beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a dietary fibre with well-evidenced health benefits, most recently recognized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). However, the functionality is usually associated with native beta-glucan, since the processing-related changes are not understood. Her studies have concentrated on finding the non-enzymatic degradation mechanisms, which may alter the bioactivity of beta-glucan. In addition, she has studied new ways to utilise oat in foods and materials. More specifically the research includes:

  • Oxidation of beta-glucan in liquid foods
  • Ascorbic acid induced oxidation of beta-glucan
  • Oxidation in the thermal degradation of beta-glucan
  • High pressure homogenisation induced degradation of beta-glucan
  • Utilisation of the new fragmentation methods in hydrogels and edible films
  • Enhancement of oat properties for emulsions 
  • Interactions of beta-glucan with other polysaccharides in baking and digestion

Research projects:

  • FOLAFIBRE 2007-2010, Aqueous processing of oats and barley:  In situ enhancement of folate and associated bioactive compounds while maintaining soluble dietary fibre physiologically active
  • Natural Polymer Graduate School
  • Contract research projects
  • Cooperation projects 



  • American Association of Cereal Chemists, Best Student Research Paper award 2010
  • University of Helsinki, Research Grant 2010
  • Finnish Food Research Foundation, Academic Visitor Grant 2010
  • Natural Polymer Graduate school position of University of Helsinki 2007-2011   


  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences
  • European Food Research and Technology
  • Molecular Nutrition and Food Research  


  • Member of the American Association of Cereal Chemists
  • Member of the Society of Food Sciences (Finnish)
  • Member of the Finnish Association of Cereal Technicians


Latest publications

  1. In situ enrichment of folate by microorganisms in beta-glucan rich oat and barley matrices

    Kariluoto, S., Edelmann, M., Nystrom, L., Sontag-Strohm, T., Salovaara, H., Kivela, R., Herranen, M., Korhola, M. & Piironen, V., 2014, In : International Journal of Food Microbiology. 176, p. 38-48 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Formation of oxidising species and their role in the viscosity loss of cereal beta-glucan extracts

    Makinen, O. E., Kiyela, R., Nystroem, L., Andersen, M. L. & Sontag-Strohm, T., 2012, In : Food Chemistry. 132, 4, p. 2007-2013 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  3. Oxidation of oat β -glucan in aqueous solutions during processing

    Kivelä, R., Henniges, U., Sontag-Strohm, T. & Potthast, A., 2012, In : Carbohydrate Polymers. 87, 1, p. 589-597 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

View all (12) »

Latest activities

  1. ETH, Zurich

    Reetta Kivelä (Visiting researcher)
    1 Aug 201013 Aug 2010

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

  2. ETH Zürich

    Reetta Kivelä (Visiting researcher)
    Apr 2010Jun 2010

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

  3. Department of Chemistry, Boku, Vienna, Austria

    Reetta Kivelä (Visiting researcher)
    5 Jan 201016 Mar 2010

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

View all (21) »

Latest prizes

  1. Best Student Paper Competition: Third Place 2010

    Reetta Kivelä (Recipient), 27 Oct 2010

    Prize: Prizes and awards

View all (2) »

Latest projects

  1. Kauran kuidun ja proteiinien muutokset prosessoinnissa

    Kanerva, P. & Kivelä, R.


    Project: Research project

  2. Physical properties of soluble fibre beta-glucan

    Sontag-Strohm, T., Kivelä, R., Mäkinen, O. & Kuula, J.


    Project: Research project

  3. Folafibre

    Sontag-Strohm, T., Salovaara, H., Kivelä, R., Loponen, J., Kuula, J. & Brinck, O.


    Project: Research project

View all (5) »

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