Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (Finnish: [ˈɑrtːuri ˈʔilmɑri 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".
He invented AIV silage which improved milk production and a method of preserving butter, the AIV salt, which led to increased Finnish butter exports.
Artturi Ilmari Virtanen was born on 15 January, 1895, in Helsinki, Finland the son of Kaarlo Virtanen, a railway engine driver, and his wife, Serafina Isotalo.
He completed his school education at the Classical Lyceum in Viipuri, Finland. He married the botanist Lilja Moisio (1894-1972) in 1920 and had two sons with her.
In 1933 he bought a farm near Helsinki where he tested some of his scientific results in practice. 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.
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".
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 to 1969.
Awards and honoursEdit
The prestige conferred by the Nobel Prize brought Virtanen invitations, honorary doctorates and membership in foreign academies of science. 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.
The Finnish Council of Nuclear Power presenting its estimation of costs at the Department of Finance in 1958, Virtanen on the right
Photograph of a delegation (including L. A. Puntila [fi]) visiting professor A. I. Virtanen on his 70th birthday in 1965
Postage stamp from 1980
^"The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1945." Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 15 June 2017.
^ abcdIhamuotila, Risto. "Virtanen, Artturi Ilmari (1895–1973)". The National Biography of Finland. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
^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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
^ abc"The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1945". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
^"Hietaniemen hautausmaa – merkittäviä vainajia" (PDF). Helsingin seurakuntayhtymä. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
^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.
^"Planetary Names: Crater, craters: Virtanen on Moon". planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov. NASA. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
Brock, W. H. (2001). "Virtanen, Artturi Ilmari". Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. doi:10.1038/npg.els.0002936. ISBN 0470016175.
Miettinen, Jorma K. (1975). "Artturi Ilmari Virtanen". Plant and Soil. 43 (1–3): 229–234. doi:10.1007/BF01928489. S2CID 11625579.
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. PMID7017179.
Kreula, Matti (1974). "In memoriam Artturi I. Virtanen 1895–1973". Zeitschrift für Ernährungswissenschaft. 13 (1–2): 1–5. doi:10.1007/BF02025018. PMID4615448. S2CID 37234331.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Artturi Ilmari Virtanen.
Artturi Ilmari Virtanen on Nobelprize.org including the Nobel Lecture on 12 December 1945 The Biological Fixation of Nitrogen and the Preservation of Fodder in Agriculture, and Their Importance to Human Nutrition