Cuticular wax of Nordic berries: Focus on composition, biosynthesis, and the effect of environmental factors

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa, Science Garden (Kaitoväylä 5). Remote connection:

Topic of the dissertation

Cuticular wax of Nordic berries: Focus on composition, biosynthesis, and the effect of environmental factors

Doctoral candidate

Masters in Technology Priyanka Trivedi

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Science, Ecology and Genetics Research Unit

Subject of study

Plant Biology


Professor Markku Keinänen, University of Eastern Finland


Professor Hely Häggman, University of Oulu

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Natural wax of Nordic berries

What is fruit wax? Fruit wax is the outer glossy or whitish covering (of fruits) which you are able to see with naked eyes, for example on apple, plums etc. In my doctoral thesis, I have studied the fruit wax of wild berries growing in Finnish natural forests, such as bilberry, lingonberry, bog bilberry and crowberry. Bilberry and lingonberry wax was found to be rich in triterpenoids, which are chemical compounds having many health beneficial properties. Interestingly, all the studied berry waxes showed high SPF’s (sun protection factors) which points towards potential application of berry waxes in cosmetic products.

While picking bilberries, have you ever wondered why some bilberries look whitish, while others looks glossy and black? In my doctoral thesis, we found that this difference in appearance of the bilberries is due to the differences in chemical composition of wax and surface morphology. We also found candidate genes involved in wax biosynthesis in bilberry.

Another question answered in this doctoral thesis is if the chemical compounds in wax of bilberries changes in different latitudes or geographical locations . While studying the wax from Latvia, Finland and Norway, a variation in wax chemical compounds among different locations was found. The wax chemical composition is affected by various environmental factors, especially temperature.

To conclude, my thesis bring new information about fruit wax of wild berries. This information would be useful in utilization of berry press cake from juice industry for the extraction of beneficial components such as wax.
Last updated: 1.3.2023