Noora Mäkelä

The awareness of the environmental impact of both the food production and consumption has grown and consequently the need for plant-based food alternatives increases. The consumption of grain – and especially oat – products has increased and new oat products are frequently developed to meet the growing demand. Thus, the need for understanding the nutritional quality, technological properties and processing methods of these plant-based ingredients is highlighted.

I am working as a post-doc researcher in the grain technology group of the Department of Food and Nutrition at the University of Helsinki. The group has wide experience in studying grains, their processing and utilisation of these in development of food products with high nutritional and sensory quality. My research is about oat and especially its dietary fibre. Oat beta-glucan has health claims approved by European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, related to its ability to lower blood cholesterol, attenuate postprandial blood glucose levels and improve gut functions by increasing faecal bulk. My research has focused on studying the properties of cereal beta-glucans, their changes during the processing and storage of food, and how these influence the health functionality of beta-glucans.

Link to the grain technology research group web page:  https://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/grain-technology