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Kristiina Poppius-Levlin

Current position at VTT

Dr., Research Coordinator, Biomass refining and sustainable chemistry

Research background and current research topics

My research has focused on pulping technology, wood, fiber and pulping chemistry and biotechnology in pulp and paper industry, and recently on natural polymers and their applications.

My research started with lignin model compounds; their synthesis, characterization and degradation reactions. One of the key research areas has been the development of environmentally sustainable methods to produce chemical pulp from hardwood, softwood and non-wood without sulphur and chlorine chemicals. Focus was on organosolv pulping, i.e. delignification using organic solvents. The Milox process based on organic acids and hydrogen peroxide, i.e. peracids, was developed at KCL from laboratory to pilot scale.

Totally Chlorine Free bleaching (TCF) of chemical pulps with peracetic acid and other peracids and with oxidative enzymes, e.g. laccases together with some mediators, were other major subjects of great interest.

Research on understanding the chemical and physical structure of fiber and pulp components (cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, and extractives), their modifications and their chemical and structural changes on both fiber and molecular level, their location in fiber wall and interactions with each other, gave a solid basis for the current biorefinery research.

Key present biorefinery research topics are related to biomass fractionation, modification and functionalization of the biomass components and their use in various applications to replace oil-based products.

Current major research projects at VTT

  • Flexpakrenew (Design and Development of an innovative ecoefficient low-substrate flexible paper packaging from renewable resources to replace petroleum based barrier films); EU FPT-NMP-2007
  • LigniVal (Lignin Valorization); Tekes BioRefine program
  • Fubio (Future Biorefineries); Forest Cluster


  • Ph.D. 1985, Organic chemistry, University of Helsinki
  • Lic. Phil. 1981, Organic and analytical chemistry, University of Helsinki
  • M.Sc. 1975, Organic chemistry, University of Helsinki

Work history

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 15.6.2009 - present

  • Research Coordinator, Biomass refining and sustainable chemistry
  • Chief Research Scientist

KCL (Oy Keskuslaboratorio-Centrallaboratorium Ab)

  • Research Fellow 2007 – 2009
  • Research Coordinator 2004 – 2007
  • Director of Research, Fibers 2000 – 2004
  • Senior Research Scientist 1990 – 1999
  • Research scientist 1986 – 1990
  • Research Associate 1985 - 1986

University of Helsinki, Laboratory of Organic Chemistry

  • Adjunct professor (Organic chemistry) 1990 - present
  • Teacher and assistant 1975 -1985

Other major assignments

KCL/STFI Joint Chemical Pulp Program

  • Assistant Coordinator 2000 - 2002
  • Deputy program Director 2003

KCL/STFI Joint Mechanical Pulp Program

  • Program Director 2003

The Finnish-Swedish Wood Material Science
Research Programme

  • Programme Coordinator 2006 - 2007

Positions of trust and professional assignments

  • Finnish Chemical Industry: Scientific Committee 2000-2005,
  • Steering group member of a number of national research programs and projects
  • Member of Management Committee in COST Action E23 “Biotechnology in the Pulp and Paper Industry” (2000-2005) and in COST Action FP0602 “Biotechnology for lignocellulose biorefineries” (2007-)
  • Member of the International Program and Scientific Committees: (ISWPC 2003-,3rd Biennial Johan Gullichsen Colloquium 2001, 2005 Technicelpa Conference, PulpPaper 2007, Nordic Polymer Days 2007)
  • Editorial Board of Paperi ja Puu , 2005 - 2009

Selected publications

  1. Maijala, P., Kleen, M., Westin, C., Poppius-Levlin, K., Herranen, K., Lehto, J.H., Reponen, P., Mäentausta, O., Mettälä, A., and Hatakka, A. , Biomechanical pulping of softwood with enzymes and white-rot fungus Physisporinus rivulosus, Enzyme and Microbial Technology, vol. 43, no2 (2008) 169-177.
  2. Widsten, P., Hortling, B., Poppius-Levlin, K Treatment of conventional kraft and SuperBatch pulp residual lignins with alkaline hydrogen peroxide, J. Pulp Paper Sci. 30 (2004);7, 191-196
  3. Widsten, P., Hortling, B., Poppius-Levlin, K. Ozonation of conventional kraft and SuperBatch residual lignins in methanol/water and water, Holzforschung 58 (2004):4, 363-368., www.degruyter
  4. Tamminen T , Kleen M , Ohra-Aho T , Poppius-Levlin K, Chemistry of mediated-laccase delignification analyzed by pyrolysis-GC/MS. J. Pulp Pap. Sci. vol. 29, no. 10, Oct. 2003, pp 319-324
  5. Jääskeläinen, A.-S., Poppius-Levlin, K., Mass transfer in peroxyacetic acid bleaching of kraft pulp. Tappi J. 84 (2001); 8, 45, and

For complete list of publications, see Kristiina Poppius-Levlin’s publications in VTT Publications Register.

Additional information

Kristiina Poppius-Levlin
Research Coordinator
+358 20 722 7489

Additional information

Kristiina Poppius-Levlin
Research Coordinator
+358 20 722 7489