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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching


My research is focused on food applications of hemicelluloses, particularly mannans and xylans derived from wood and agricultural residues. I am interested in the formation and properties of biodegradable packaging materials from hemicelluloses, which could be potentially obtained at large quantities from modern biorefineries. The sustainability, biodegradability, and safety of mannans and xylans for food contact make them a highly interesting future alternative for petroleum-derived plastics. Other possible applications for hemicelluloses include, e.g., emulsions for food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.

My Research Group Food Materials Science



Courses taught:

ET410 (Conventional food processing technologies; 5 cr) Academic year 2016-17.

ET215 (Elintarvikesuunnittelu ja -prosessointi; 10 cr). Academic year 2016-17.

ETK210 (Elintarvikkeiden fysikaalinen kemia; 5 cr). Academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17.

ETT210 (Pakkausteknologia 1; 5 cr), a lecture course on packaging technology for bachelor students in food science. Academic year 2012-13.

ETT410 (Pakkausteknologia 2; 6 cr), advanced course on food packaging technology with both lectures and laboratory work. Academic year 2012-13.

YKEM111 (Laboratory course on physical chemistry, 3 cr), assistant teacher. Years 2007, 2010, and 2011.

Currently, I teach food technology, act as food science bachelor study advisor, have responsibility of the food processing technology master level practical work training as well as of the product development in the food sector study module, and supervise doctoral, master, and bachelor theses on related topics.


Curriculum vitae

Current position:

Assistant Professor and Academy Research Fellow, Department of Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki (1.9.2017→)

Degrees awarded:

Docent (Adjunct Professor), Food Materials Science, University of Helsinki (2013)

PhD, Food Technology, University of Helsinki (2009)

MSc, Food Technology, University of Helsinki  (2004)

Other education:

University Pedagogy I (1+2); 10 cr (2011)

University Pedagogy 3; 5 cr, and 4; 5 cr (2013)

Leadership Program for Academic Staff (2015)


  • 416 Food Science
  • Food Technology
  • Packaging
  • Polysaccharides
  • Biodegradable Films
  • Emulsions
  • Aerogels

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2004 2019

Environmentally-compatible alkyd paints stabilized by wood hemicelluloses

Mikkonen, K. S., Kirjoranta, S., Xu, C., Hemming, J., Pranovich, A., Bhattarai, M., Peltonen, L., Kilpeläinen, P., Maina, N., Tenkanen, M., Lehtonen, M. & Willför, S., 16 Mar 2019, In : Industrial Crops and Products. 133, p. 212-220

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Functionality of spruce galactoglucomannans in oil-in-water emulsions

Bhattarai, M., Pitkänen, L. M., Kitunen, V., Korpinen, R., Ilvesniemi, H., Kilpeläinen, P. O., Lehtonen, M. I. & Mikkonen, K. S., 2019, In : Food Hydrocolloids. 86, p. 154-161

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Safety considerations of plant polysaccharides for food use: a case study on phenolic-rich softwood galactoglucomannan extract

Pitkänen, L. M., Heinonen, M. & Mikkonen, K. S., 2018, In : Food & Function. 9, p. 1931-1943 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Phenolic residues in spruce galactoglucomannans improve stabilization of oil-in-water emulsions

Lehtonen, M., Merinen, M., Kilpeläinen, P. O., Xu, C., Willför, S. M. & Mikkonen, K. S., 2018, In : Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 512, p. 536–547 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Synchrotron microtomography reveals the fine three-dimensional porosity of composite polysaccharide aerogels

Ghafar, A., Parikka, K., Haberthür, D., Tenkanen, M., Mikkonen, K. S. & Suuronen, J-P., 2017, In : Materials. 10, 8, p. 871 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Projects 2004 2022

Activities 2004 2019

Speaker: Sensory profile of spruce galactoglucomannans and birch glucuronoxylans in food

Kirsi S. Mikkonen (Speaker)
3 Apr 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Verena Wiedenmann

Kirsi S. Mikkonen (Host)
1 Aug 201814 Dec 2018

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesAcademic visit at UH

University of Toronto

Kirsi S. Mikkonen (Visiting researcher)
10 Sep 201828 Sep 2018

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

Symposium on Plant Heteropolysaccharides: Interactions within Lignocellulosics, New Modifications & Future Applications

Francisco Villaplana (Member of organizing committee), Kirsi S. Mikkonen (Member of organizing committee), Maija Tenkanen (Member of organizing committee)
21 Mar 2018

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