History of Artturi Virtanen,the greatest Finnish chemist.

History  of  Artturi Virtanen,the greatest Finnish chemist.


Artturi Virtanen was a famous Chemist. After completing the Ph.D. From the University of Helsinki, 1918, he was on the faculty at the University of Helsinki from 1924 to 1973 until his death. He did lots of research and inventions in Agriculture and Nutrition Chemistry, especially for his fodder preservation method. He developed a technique for avoiding fermentation in store green fodder, which is necessary to raising healthy animals in Northern Climates where the long winters limit the availability of fresh fodder. The technique, which came to be known as the AIV method (Based on Virtanen’s initials), preserves feed without protein.

Virtanen was born on January 15, 1895 in Helsinki, Finland… He completed his education at the Classical Lyceum in Viper Finland. Virtanen married with the Lima Moissan, botanist in 1920 and had two sons with her. Virtanen bought a farm in 1933 in Helsinki, where he tested some of his scientific results in practice. He saw in the overproduction of food only temporary phenomena… Virtanen loved his simple life; he never had a car of his own, never smoke and consumed alcohol. Virtanen tarter his study in Chemistry, in 193 he earned his Master and in 1913 he completed his PhD in Organic Chemistry. In 1919 he started to work in the laborites of Olio, a large producer of dairy products and latter on he become the director of the laboratory in 1920. He was also interested in Botany and Zoology led him to further scientific education and so he left Valois and started studies at the ETH, the University of Munster and the University Stockholm, in physical chemistry, soil chemistry and microbiology. In 1923 he worked with Hans Von Euler – Chaplin, who was awarded with the “Noble Prize” in Chemistry in 1929. Latter on him come back in Finland and become a lecturer in Helsinki University of Technology in 1931. He becomes the professor of biochemistry at the University of Technology in 1931 and at the University of Helsinki in 1939.

Virtanen started his research with the work on the phosphorylation of hexodes in 1924. He was able to show that Phosphorylation in the first step with many fermentation reactions, which was the foundation of the Emden- Meyerhof Pathway. In1925 Virtanen interests shifted to the Nitrogen- Fixing- bacteria in the root nodules of leguminous plants.  He improved the methods of butter preservation by adding disodium phosphate to prevent acidic hydrolysis… this method was in use for several decades in Finland. His research from 1925 to 1932 included the invention of fodder preservation method (AIV fodder). This method , patented in 1832, was basically a  kind of  silage that improved the storage of green fodder, which is important during long winters, The process includes dilute hydrochloric or sulfuric acid to newly stored grain, Increased acidity stops harmful fermentation  and has no adverse effect on  the  nutritive  value of the fodder or the animals it is fed to. Arturo  Virtanen received the Noble Prize  in chemistry “for his research and inventions in agriculture  and nutrition chemistry” in 1945. Virtanen latter on studies included the  development of practically synthetic cattle feeds. The nitrogen for the synthetic of amino acids normally comes from proteins in the fodder. A special bacterial  environment in the rumen of cattle allows using urea and ammonium salts as source for the nitrogen instead of plant proteins like soybean or meat and bone meal . Virtanen was also  headed the “ Valois Laboratory from  1921-1969. He died on November 11, 1973 in  Helsinki Finland.



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