Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Suvi Häkkinen believes that NPBTs (new plant breeding techniques) will definitely be used in the future as their power has already been proven in many applications. She thinks and hopes that “Europe will eventually get on board with countries which allow the NPBT usage in more rational and scientific basis.”

Suvi is the leader of the Commercial exploitation of chicory as a multipurpose crop work package (WP8). This work package aims to develop the technology behind its research for business purposes. Her VTT team is also involved in other WPs in the CHIC project and they mainly study chicory-derived terpenes and their bioactivity potential, how inulin from modified chicory behaves in the gastrointestinal model, and they also screen the NPBT chicory products for their potential toxicity. Researchers are developing an exploitation strategy that’s built on two strong business cases for NPBT chicory-based dietary fibre and bioactive terpenes. Based on the research information, business cases related to inulin and terpenes are being built, together with industrial partners of the project.

As part of this project, she has certainly enjoyed collaborating with skillful scientists towards a very interesting and important research target. She joined the project when project coordinators, with whom she had a fruitful collaboration in the past, invited her and her team. New plant breeding techniques are a highly controversial topic both in the scientific sense and from European and global regulatory perspectives. The CHIC project also focuses on research dissemination in a very special way. It involves incredible artists in a fascinating arts and science platform.

As the project approaches the end, Suvi will miss the consortium, the excellent partners, and the great project spirit. One of her favourite memories of being a part of this project is getting involved in the Arts & Science project, working with different resident artists in laboratories, and making videos related to CHIC in various ways. However, as a scientist herself, it has been very nice to read high-value scientific publications written and published by CHIC partners already at this stage.

At VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, she works in Industrial Biotechnology and Food research area. Her expertise is in plant biotechnology, especially plant metabolic engineering and natural product research. She did her Ph.D. at Helsinki University of Technology (currently Aalto University) related to functional genomics of medicinal plants. She is also a curator of the VTT Plant Culture Collection and plants GMO responsible at VTT.

 

Work Package Leader

Dr. Suvi Häkkinen, WP8 Coordinator

Commercial Exploitation of Chicory as a Multipurpose Crop

 

CHIC News!

Meet Dr. Ingrid van der Meer, WP2 Coordinator

Dr. Ingrid van der Meer obtained her Ph.D. in Regulation of Plant…

Meet Dr. Dirk Bosch, CHIC Project Leader

“I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of bioactive molecules…

Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research…

Developing Different NPBTs, We're Moving Forward

n general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene…

The Project's Exploitation Strategy

he CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research…

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics…

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory.…

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate…

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project…

Follow us!

Share this:

Developing Different NPBTs, We’re Moving Forward

In general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene editing) are methods that allow scientists to develop new plant varieties with desired traits, by modifying the seeds and plant cells’ DNA. As the process has only been developed in the last decade, the technique is still quite new and it has been continually evolving in recent years. However, in the CHIC project, we have been doing genome editing based on CRISPR-Cas.

For those not familiar with this concept, CRISPR, according to Wikipedia, is an acronym for ‘clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, which is a family of genes found in organisms such as bacteria. CRISPR is a technology that edits genes, or put it simply, it finds a specific bit of DNA inside a cell, at which point it alters that piece of DNA.

The CHIC project has developed four different methods in parallel to deliver CRISPR tools to chicory cells, which should have identical genetic outcomes. They differ only in the degree of “DNA invasiveness”, which is relevant in adopting these new technologies and their products by regulators and the general public. In the first four years of the project, three methods with varying degrees of DNA invasiveness have been fully implemented. The root chicory has been grown to maturity in which, using genome editing technique, the genes responsible for root bitter compounds have been eliminated. A patent application has been filed for this innovation.

Meanwhile, other partners involved in the project have worked on finding alternative genome editing molecules that may work even better in plant cells than CRISPR/Cas and a possible solution for self-incompatibility. This is the feature that chicory plants cannot be fertilized by their own pollen, as can be done in many other plant species, which poses a serious bottleneck in chicory variety improvement by plant breeding. The genes for self-incompatibility in chicory have been found and tested. Finally, additional work has been performed to improve the chicory genome sequence.

 

Check out Work Package 1 video –

Work Package Leader

Dr. Paul Bundock, WP1 Coordinator

Development of Four Conceptually Different NPBTs (New Plant Breeding Techniques)

CHIC News!

Meet Dr. Ingrid van der Meer, WP2 Coordinator

Dr. Ingrid van der Meer obtained her Ph.D. in Regulation of Plant…

Meet Dr. Dirk Bosch, CHIC Project Leader

“I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of bioactive molecules…

Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research…

Developing Different NPBTs, We're Moving Forward

n general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene…

The Project's Exploitation Strategy

he CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research…

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics…

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory.…

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate…

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project…

Follow us!

Share this:

The Project’s Exploitation Strategy

The CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research for business purposes. As part of the project’s work, researchers are developing an exploitation strategy that’s built on two strong business cases for NPBT chicory-based dietary fibre and bioactive terpenes.

Improved inulin and terpene fractions are subjected to in vitro bioactivity studies. Safety evaluation and business cases for both lines are moving forward. Two types of NPBT chicory mutants have been generated and analysed, one type of mutations targeted to inulin breakdown genes and the other for germacrene synthase A.

The functionality of NPBT chicory lines were assessed in gut fermentation model, which measures the gas formation during the fermentation. These studies showed slightly lower gas formation in NPBT chicory compared to WT (wild type) chicory. Typical chicory sesquiterpene lactones (STLs) and chicory extracts have been studied for their bioactive potential, and interesting antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory activities have been reported. The results have recently been published.

Remarkably, the chicory extracts showed activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and they also showed higher antibiofilm activity against the yeast Candida albicans than standard STLs. For commercial inulin processes, technical and economic feasibility showed efficiency for two different processes to yield both inulin and terpenes. The price of terpenes was calculated for both processes and they were shown to be competitive.

 

Check out Work Package 8 video –

Work Package Leader

Dr. Suvi Häkkinen, WP8 Coordinator

Commercial Exploitation of Chicory as a Multipurpose Crop

 

CHIC News!

Meet Dr. Ingrid van der Meer, WP2 Coordinator

Dr. Ingrid van der Meer obtained her Ph.D. in Regulation of Plant…

Meet Dr. Dirk Bosch, CHIC Project Leader

“I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of bioactive molecules…

Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research…

Developing Different NPBTs, We're Moving Forward

n general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene…

The Project's Exploitation Strategy

he CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research…

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics…

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory.…

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate…

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project…

Follow us!

Share this:

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics mainly targeted at gut health. But what is gut health? “Gut health” describes the function and balance in the human’s gastrointestinal tract, ideally consisting of organs such as the esophagus, stomach, and intestines, in combination with the intestinal microbiota, that work together for digesting food. Inulin is a dietary fibre that cannot be degraded or digested by ourselves but can be used by ‘healthy’ micro-organisms to grow on. Why is it important to stimulate the growth of healthy microbiota in our gut? The composition of gut microbiota has broad impacts, including resistance to pathogens, maintaining the intestinal epithelium, metabolizing dietary and pharmaceutical compounds, controlling our immune function, and it even can influence our behaviour via the gut-brain connection.

On industrial scale, inulin is extracted from root chicory and used in many food products as low-calorie sweetener, fat-replacer and as pre-biotic (compounds in food that induce the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi). The quality and the length of the inulin molecules determine the value and health-beneficial character of this dietary fiber. Using New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) could increase both the quality and the mean length of inulin.

During its research, within WP 2 we were able to produce chicory lines that are blocked in the breakdown of inulin under Autumn/ Winter conditions via CRIPSR’ed mutations in the genome, leading to high-quality inulin with a longer degree of polymerization.

In the industrial process, the very bitter taste from the chicory taproot is co-extracted with inulin. But this bitter taste hinders the broad food application of inulin. Therefore, additional purification steps are required which increase the cost of the process and thereby of inulin itself.

Within the CHIC project we could generate mutant chicory plants. The terpene synthesis genes are blocked using NPBT due to the small alteration made in the plant DNA using the CRISPR tools. This process reduced the presence of bitter compounds in the chicory mutant plants. We are now in the process of combining these two traits in one plant: reduction of the bitter compounds with high-quality inulin under Autumn/ Winter conditions.

 

Check out Work Package 2 video –

Work Package Leader

Dr. Ingrid M. van der Meer, WP2 Leader

Implementation of NPBT for Dietary Inulin

CHIC News!

Meet Dr. Ingrid van der Meer, WP2 Coordinator

Dr. Ingrid van der Meer obtained her Ph.D. in Regulation of Plant…

Meet Dr. Dirk Bosch, CHIC Project Leader

“I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of bioactive molecules…

Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research…

Developing Different NPBTs, We're Moving Forward

n general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene…

The Project's Exploitation Strategy

he CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research…

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics…

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory.…

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate…

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project…

Follow us!

Share this:

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory. The latex of chicory contains large amounts of sesquiterpene lactones, which interfere with the extraction of inulin. For the other part of this project, CHIC’s objective is to identify biological activities of interest for these sesquiterpene lactones and to hopefully increase their production by using new plant breeding technologies.

Scientists and researchers are finding other ways to solve this problem. Bioactivity assays were identified as having one promising sesquiterpene lactone with anti-inflammatory activity and extracts containing antimicrobial activity. This resulted in identifying responsible substances.

Using transcriptome data and the newly sequenced genome, candidate genes for the biosynthesis of the sesquiterpene lactones and the formation of the laticifers have been identified and have also been functionally characterized. More importantly, several chicory lines were produced using new plant breeding technologies. This resulted in some showing accumulations of sesquiterpene lactones with anti-inflammatory activity, while others have reduced laticifer and sesquiterpene lactone content, which could be useful for inulin extraction.

 

Check out Work Package 3 video –

Work Package Leader

Prof. Dr. Alain Tissier, WP3 Coordinator

Implementation of NPBT in Chicory for Bioactive Terpenes

CHIC News!

Meet Dr. Ingrid van der Meer, WP2 Coordinator

Dr. Ingrid van der Meer obtained her Ph.D. in Regulation of Plant…

Meet Dr. Dirk Bosch, CHIC Project Leader

“I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of bioactive molecules…

Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research…

Developing Different NPBTs, We're Moving Forward

n general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene…

The Project's Exploitation Strategy

he CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research…

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics…

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory.…

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate…

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project…

Follow us!

Share this:

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate the socio-economic and environmental impacts. Therefore, a socio-economic impact assessment and an environmental assessment of molecular breeding technologies and the whole value chain are continually being performed. In addition to these quantitative assessments, qualitative research on societal issues hindering or facilitating chicory innovation will be part of the assessment.

Within the socio-economic assessment, the impact of different NPBTs on economic and social indicators are quantified using GDP, production volume, growth, competitiveness, and employment indicators. The distribution of wealth and income between different sectors and regions within the EU and the global economy will also be assessed. The LCA provides information on different aspects like greenhouse gas emissions, primary energy demand, and land use of the new value chain developed in CHIC.

With broad input of all partners, concepts were defined that differ in aspects such as whether CRISPR edited chicory is regulated as GMO or not, whether it is grown in the open field or greenhouses, and what type of products are isolated from them. These concepts are evaluated for their socio-economic and environmental impacts. CRISPR edited chicory show positive effects on socio-economics and environmental impacts. With higher inulin content in the chicory roots or the enabling of the production of new health promoting ingredients such as sesquiterpene lactones, positive economic effects can be generated and GHG emissions as well as primary energy demand can be reduced compared to the reference inulin process.

 

Check out Work Package 5 video –

Work Package Leader

Maria Hingsamer, WP5 Coordinator

Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts on the Whole Value Chain

CHIC News!

Meet Dr. Ingrid van der Meer, WP2 Coordinator

Dr. Ingrid van der Meer obtained her Ph.D. in Regulation of Plant…

Meet Dr. Dirk Bosch, CHIC Project Leader

“I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of bioactive molecules…

Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research…

Developing Different NPBTs, We're Moving Forward

n general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene…

The Project's Exploitation Strategy

he CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research…

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics…

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory.…

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate…

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project…

Follow us!

Share this:

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project to facilitate a responsible innovative process. The CHIC project researcher continue their fruitful exchange with the CHIC Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG), with SAG members participating in project meetings and conference calls. There have been two large activities during this reporting period: the first of two planned EU-level Stakeholder Consultations and the second activity was the development and application of a Multi-Criteria Assessment (MCA) instrument.

The EU-level Stakeholder Consultation took place on 6 October 2021 and brought together 15 project members and 30 stakeholders from various areas, which are part of the regulation and use of New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) in Europe. The MCA was conducted via an online questionnaire to investigate stakeholder views on NGT related issues. It focused on what factors relevant for social acceptability of NGTs. The data collection ended on 7 November 2021 and delivered 38 complete questionnaires reflecting a return rate of ca. 40%.

 

Check out Work Package 6 video –

Work Package Leader

Dr. Armin Spök, WP6 Coordinator

Stakeholder Engagement

CHIC News!

Meet Dr. Ingrid van der Meer, WP2 Coordinator

Dr. Ingrid van der Meer obtained her Ph.D. in Regulation of Plant…

Meet Dr. Dirk Bosch, CHIC Project Leader

“I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of bioactive molecules…

Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research…

Developing Different NPBTs, We're Moving Forward

n general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene…

The Project's Exploitation Strategy

he CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research…

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics…

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory.…

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate…

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project…

Follow us!

Share this:

Exciting and Fun Activities, What’s New?

The CHIC project continues to provide updates and organize fun activities for everyone. It is a way to share with you what is happening at the project. We continue to share with you updates through our social media postings and published news articles.  During the last 11 months, we are glad to share with you that Jill Scott and Marille Hahne continue to develop the artistic work “AFTERTASTE,” which is based on the health of the human olfaction and gustatory systems and the feedback between these systems and the content is based on the primary and secondary compounds found in the chicory root. Anna Dumitru and Alex May continue to work on its sculptural and bio-digital installation entitled “Biotechnology from the Blue Flower.” The art installations continue to progress forward, and we are looking forward to sharing these amazing artworks very soon.

Educational activities for high school students have started to get off the ground. MyCHICFarm, an augmented reality game, and CHIC-Bubbles, a virtual reality game have garnered positive feedback from the students so far. Some CHIC partners have visited schools in The Netherlands and Spain and we are looking to continue to share this amazing technology at several schools in Europe. CHIC Days, an organized event with different schools, is already on the way, and we plan to visit a few schools in the next few months. We will certainly share more about these events in the coming months so stay tuned.

 

Last year, some CHIC partners organized a few events, including “Capture the Future(s): OUR BIO-TECH PLANET. The Routes to Roots Networks and Beyond,” where CHIC artists showcased and discussed their work. This event explored interconnections between environmental, cultural, and social-political issues that shape our future. The CHIC project was also part of a cooking show where world-famous pastry chef, Jordi Boras of Spain, taught the audience how to make two ground-breaking inulin-based recipes, Chocolate Soufflé and Lemon Meringue Pie. The CHIC project also organized a webinar with a group of scientists and researchers along with artists Anna Dumitriu and Alex May. These artists discussed with CHIC partners its project called “Biotechnology from the Blue Flower” and also explored the methodologies of gene editing using the CRISPR technique.

 

Check out Work Package 7 video –

Work Package Leader

Macarena Sanz, WP7 Coordinator

Exploitation, Dissemination and Communication

CHIC News!

Meet Dr. Ingrid van der Meer, WP2 Coordinator

Dr. Ingrid van der Meer obtained her Ph.D. in Regulation of Plant…

Meet Dr. Dirk Bosch, CHIC Project Leader

“I am fascinated by the enormous diversity of bioactive molecules…

Meet Suvi Häkkinen, Work Package 8 Leader

For Senior Scientist and Project manager at VTT Technical Research…

Developing Different NPBTs, We're Moving Forward

n general terms, New Plant-Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) (or gene…

The Project's Exploitation Strategy

he CHIC project aims to develop the technology behind its research…

NPBT for Dietary Inulin, How We Implement It?

Inulin is a dietary fiber with health-promoting characteristics…

Extracting Inulin From Chicory Is Not Easy

In the past, it was not easy to extract inulin from root chicory.…

Measuring the Socio-economic and Environmental Impacts

With any project of this nature and size, researchers also evaluate…

Partners Continue and Extent Stakeholders Engagement

The engagement of stakeholders is an important part of this project…

Follow us!

Share this: