Artturi Ilmari Virtanen

Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (Finnish: [ˈɑrtːuri ˈilmɑri ˈʋirtɑnen] (listen); 15 January 1895 – 11 November 1973) was a Finnish chemist and recipient of the 1945 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his research and inventions in agricultural and nutrition chemistry, especially for his fodder preservation method".[1]

He invented AIV silage which improved milk production and a method of preserving butter, the AIV salt, which led to increased Finnish butter exports.[2]

Artturi Ilmari Virtanen
Born15 January 1895
Died11 November 1973 (aged 78)
Alma materUniversity of Helsinki
Known forAIV fodder
AwardsNobel Prize in Chemistry (1945)
Scientific career
InstitutionsHelsinki University of Technology
University of Helsinki

Personal life

Virtanen was born in Helsinki, Finland the son of Kaarlo Virtanen, a railway engine driver, and his wife, Serafina Isotalo.[3]

He completed his school education at the Classical Lyceum in Viipuri, Finland. He married the botanist Lilja Moisio in 1920 and had two sons with her.[4]

In 1933 he bought a farm near Helsinki where he tested some of his scientific results in practice.[2] He saw in the overproduction of food only a temporary phenomenon. He loved the simple life, never had a car of his own, never smoked and never consumed alcohol. He died of pneumonia in November 1973, following a broken femur from a fall few weeks prior. He was buried at the Hietaniemi Cemetery.[5]


Virtanen began his studies at the University of Helsinki in chemistry 1913 earning his Master and in 1918 his Phd in organic chemistry. In 1919 he started to work in the laboratories of Valio, a large producer of dairy products and became director of the laboratory in 1920. Feeling not fully qualified and following his interest in botany and zoology led him to further scientific education and so he left Valio and studied at the ETH, the University of Münster and the University of Stockholm, physical chemistry, soil chemistry and microbiology. In 1923 in Sweden he worked with Hans von Euler-Chelpin, who was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1929. Back in Finland he became lecturer at the University of Helsinki in 1924, known for his lectures on chemistry of life. He worked in the laboratory of the Butter Export Association, which became a laboratory of the university. In 1930 the Institute for Biochemistry was founded and Virtanen stayed there until his death in 1973. He became professor of biochemistry at the Helsinki University of Technology in 1931 and at the University of Helsinki in 1939.


His research started with work on the phosphorylation of hexoses in 1924. He was able to show that phosphorylation is the first step in many fermentation reactions, which was the foundation of the Embden–Meyerhof pathway.

In 1925 his interests shifted to the nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the root nodules of leguminous plants. The improved 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 till 1932 included the invention of a fodder preservation method (AIV Fodder). The method, patented in 1932, was basically a kind of silage that improved the storage of green fodder, which is important during long winters. The process includes adding 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. In 1945, Virtanen received the Nobel Prize in chemistry "for his research and inventions in agricultural and nutrition chemistry".[4]

His later years studies included the development of partially synthetic cattle feeds. The nitrogen for the synthesis of amino acids normally comes from proteins in the fodder. A special bacterial environment in the rumen of cattle allows them to use urea and ammonium salts as source for the nitrogen instead of plant proteins like soybean or meat and bone meal. He also headed the Valio Laboratory from 1921–1969.

Awards and honours

The prestige conferred by the Nobel Prize brought Virtanen invitations, honorary doctorates and membership in foreign academies of science.[2] He was a member of the Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Flemish, Bavarian, and Pontifical Academies of Science, and of the Swedish and Danish Academies of Engineering Sciences. He was an honorary member of learned societies in Finland, Sweden, Austria, Edinburgh, and the US, and received honorary degrees of the Universities of Lund, Paris, Giessen, and Helsinki, the Royal Technical College at Stockholm, and the Finland Institute of Technology.[4]

The asteroid 1449 Virtanen, discovered by the renowned Finnish astronomer and physicist Yrjö Väisälä, was named after him.[6] The lunar crater Virtanen is also named after him.[7]


  • WH Brock (2001). "Virtanen, Artturi Ilmari". Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. doi:10.1038/npg.els.0002936.
  • Jorma K. Miettinen (1975). "Artturi Ilmari Virtanen". Plant and Soil. 43 (1–3): 229–234. doi:10.1007/BF01928489.
  • R. A. Kyle; M. A. Shampo (1981). "Artturi Ilmari Virtanen". Journal of the American Medical Association. 246 (2): 150. doi:10.1001/jama.246.2.150. PMID 7017179.
  • Matti Kreula (1974). "In memoriam Artturi I. Virtanen 1895–1973". Zeitschrift für Ernährungswissenschaft. 13 (1–2): 1–5. doi:10.1007/BF02025018.


  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1945". Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 15 Jun 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Risto Ihamuotila. "Virtanen, Artturi Ilmari (1895 - 1973)". The National Biography of Finland. SKS. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  4. ^ a b c "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1945". Nobel Media AB. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  5. ^ "Hietaniemen hautausmaa– merkittäviä vainajia" (PDF). Kirkko Helsingissä. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  6. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2003). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1449) Virtanen. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 116. ISBN 978-3-540-29925-7. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Planetary Names: Crater, craters: Virtanen on Moon". NASA. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
1895 in science

The year 1895 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.

1945 in science

The year 1945 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.

AIV fodder

AIV Fodder is a kind of silage. The AIV liquid is added to the green fodder to improve the storage. This is especially important during long winters. The process includes adding a 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.A Finnish researcher of chemistry and agriculture Artturi Virtanen invented the method and named it after his initials (Artturi Ilmari Virtanen). First commercial AIV fodder products were introduced in 1929 and the method was patented in 1932. In 1945 Virtanen became a Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry "for his research and inventions in agricultural and nutrition chemistry, especially for his fodder preservation method" (AIV Fodder).Modern version of the AIV liquid consist of 76% formic acid, 5.5% ammonium formate, and water. The liquid is strongly acidic, thus care is needed in the handling of the liquid.In the early days the green fodder was dropped into a hole dug into the ground and the AIV liquid was poured on top of it. Today AIV fodder is created automatically by the harvesting machinery. During the process the liquid is added to the green fodder. 3000 kg of green fodder requires about 5 liters of AIV liquid. The ready AIV fodder may irritate skin but is not dangerous to the animals it is fed to or humans.

Agricultural science

Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field of biology that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture. (Veterinary science, but not animal science, is often excluded from the definition.)


Ilmari is a Finnish male given name. It is a short form of Ilmarinen, a mythological smith in the Kalevala. Notable people with the name include:

Ilmari Aalto (1891–1934), Finnish painter

Ilmari Auer (1879–1965), Finnish politician

Ilmari Juutilainen (1914–1999), Finnish fighter pilot

Ilmari Hannikainen (1892–1955), Finnish composer

Ilmari Kianto (1874–1970), Finnish poet

Ilmari Keinänen (1887–1934), Finnish gymnast and Olympic medalist

Ilmari Niemeläinen (1910–1951), Finnish diver, architect and Olympic competitor

Ilmari (Keisuke Ogihara, born 1976), member of the Japanese hip hop group Rip Slyme

Ilmari Oksanen (1906–1977), Finnish footballer

Ilmari Pakarinen (1910–1987), Finnish gymnast and Olympic medalist

Ilmari Pernaja (1892–1963), Finnish gymnast and Olympic medalist

Ilmari Pitkänen (born 1990), Finnish ice hockey player

Ilmari Saarelainen (born 1944) Finnish actor

Ilmari Salminen (1902–1986), Finnish track and field athlete and Olympic medalist

Ilmari Salomies (1893–1973), Finnish former Archbishop of Turku, and the spiritual head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland

Ilmari Susiluoto (born 1947), Finnish political scientist, professor and political advisor

Ilmari Taipale (1928–2008), Finnish long-distance runner and Olympic competitor

Ilmari Tapiovaara (1914–1999), Finnish designer

Ilmari Unho (1906−1961), Finnish actor, film director and screenwriter

Ilmari Vartia (1914–1951), Finnish fencer and Olympic competitor

Ilmari Vesamaa (1893–1973), track and field athlete and Olympic competitor

Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (1895–1973), Finnish chemist, Nobel Prize recipient

Index of chemistry articles

Chemistry (from Egyptian kēme (chem), meaning "earth") is the physical science concerned with the composition, structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions.Below is a list of chemistry-related articles. Chemical compounds are listed separately at list of organic compounds, list of inorganic compounds or list of biomolecules.

January 15

January 15 is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 350 days remaining until the end of the year (351 in leap years).

Lauri Kaukonen

Lauri Kaukonen (March 3, 1902 Rantasalmi - January 8, 1975, Helsinki) was an influential actor among Finland’s cooperatives. He was a member of the executive team and administrative executive at Valio, which is the market leader in dairy products in Finland. Valio's employee Artturi Ilmari Virtanen received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Valio's main export market was the United Kingdom during Kaukonen's time of service. Kaukonen was also a member of the board at The Pellervo Society, which represents Finland’s cooperatives.

Kaukonen studied at Helsinki School of Economics from where he received his master's degree in business.

Kaukonen renewed the pension scheme of dairy professionals in Finland. He also enhanced accounting, cost accounting, management and audit methods among cooperatives. He wrote a large number of articles concerning economics, business history and business computing issues for Finland’s leading newspapers, magazines and congress publications. Kaukonen gave lectures at Helsinki School of Economics and worked as a teacher at Helsinki Business College.

Kaukonen had several trustee positions in cooperatives and business societies. He was a member of the board at Meijerien Keskinäinen Vakuutusyhtiö (the insurance company of dairy professionals) and at Meijeriväen Eläkekassa (the pension fund of dairy professionals). He was also the founder and the first chairman of The Pellervo Society's Commercial Club (Pellervon liiketaloudellinen kerho).

In 1962 Kaukonen was granted Knight of the Order of the White Rose of Finland from the President of Finland Urho Kekkonen. Kaukonen received the title of Secretariate Counsellor of his achievements and dedication among Finland’s cooperatives from the President of Finland Urho Kaleva Kekkonen in 1967. The title is ranked 6th in Finland’s protocol rankings. The title of Secretariate Counsellor have been given for prominent professors. Staff professors are ranked 7th.

Kaukonen had five children. His son Pertti Kaukonen served as Finland’s Ambassador in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and The United Arab Emirates.

List of Finland-related topics

This is a collection of articles relating to Finland, a country in Northern Europe.

List of Finns

This is a list of notable people from Finland. Finland is a Nordic country located between Sweden, Norway and Russia.

List of Nobel laureates

The Nobel Prizes (Swedish: Nobelpriset, Norwegian: Nobelprisen) are prizes awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Swedish Academy, the Karolinska Institutet, and the Norwegian Nobel Committee to individuals and organizations who make outstanding contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, literature, peace, and physiology or medicine. They were established by the 1895 will of Alfred Nobel, which dictates that the awards should be administered by the Nobel Foundation. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was established in 1968 by the Sveriges Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, for contributions to the field of economics. Each recipient, or "laureate", receives a gold medal, a diploma, and a sum of money, which is decided annually by the Nobel Foundation.

List of people on the postage stamps of Finland

This is a list of people on stamps of Finland and Åland Islands, including the dates of issue of the stamps honoring them.

(continue with 1986)

, Åland Islands

List of people with craters of the Moon named after them

The following is a list of people whose names were given to craters of the Moon. The list of approved names in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature maintained by the International Astronomical Union includes the person the crater is named for.

November 11

November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 50 days remaining until the end of the year.


Silage is fermented, high-moisture stored fodder which can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants (cud-chewing animals) or used as a biofuel feedstock for anaerobic digesters. It is fermented and stored in a process called ensilage, ensiling or silaging, and is usually made from grass crops, including maize, sorghum or other cereals, using the entire green plant (not just the grain). Silage can be made from many field crops, and special terms may be used depending on type: oatlage for oats, haylage for alfalfa; but see below for the different British use of the term haylage.

Silage is made by one or more of the following methods: placing cut green vegetation in a silo or pit; piling the vegetation in a large heap and compressing it down so as to purge as much oxygen as possible, then covering it with a plastic sheet; or by wrapping large round bales tightly in plastic film.


Valio Ltd (Finnish: Valio Oy) is a Finnish manufacturer of dairy products and one of the largest companies in Finland. Valio's products include cheese, powdered ingredients, butter, yogurt and milk. It is Finland's largest milk processor, producing 85% of the country's milk.

Valio's net turnover in 2012 was 2 billion euros. Valio is the market leader in key dairy product categories in Finland and a pioneer as the developer of functional foods. Valio is owned by 18 dairy cooperatives which have about 7,900 milk farmers as members. Valio's product range currently consists of about 1,000 products. Valio is Finland’s biggest food exporter and sells products to nearly 60 countries. In 2015 Valio’s share of Finland’s dairy product exports was around 97%, and that of Finland’s food exports around 29%.Valio has 15 production facilities in Finland, two in Estonia and a plant for producing processed cheese and a logistics centre in Moscow, Russia. Valio subsidiaries operate in Russia, Sweden, the Baltic, United States and China. International operations account for one third of Valio net turnover.

Virtanen (surname)

Virtanen (also written as Wirtanen) is a surname originating in Finland (in Finnish, meaning "river"), where it is the second most common surname.


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