PhD thesis topic
Characterization and distribution of polyphenol-based oxidative defenses in plants
(1) Developing a method to study how any plant sample’s enzymatic activity can alter its phenolic profile.
(2) Characterization of the active metabolites that are transformed due to enzymatic oxidation in a phylogenetically diverse set of plant species.
(3) Studying the distribution of the enzymatic and oxidative activities and corresponding active metabolites in a large collection of Finnish plant species.
(4) Utilizing a metabolomics approach for processing the data acquired from a wide selection of mass-spectrometric analyses of both oxidized and non-oxidized plant samples to witness how the active vs. inactive compounds shape the phylogenies that are constructed by the help of plant chemistry.
During my PhD work I can develop and expand my knowledge and skills in chemical analysis methods and technologies. Occasionally I get a chance to teach these skills to others as well. Due to the scale of the project, I rely on cutting edge chromatographic and mass-spectrometric methods in my studies, which I certainly don’t mind, and learning the tools needed to process and report the data is a challenge worth taking.
Results so far
A simple-to-perform addition to an existing oxidation method has been developed, and it adds new information on oxidative capacities of any plant on tissue, species and genus level based on their phenolic content and enzymatic activity. The manuscript describing this method was submitted in late 2017. Another manuscript, where this method is used with a wide selection of Finnish plant species, will be submitted in early 2018.