Funded PhD Position in the Valorisation of carbohydrate-rich fractions from plant biomass waste streams generated in plant protein extraction processes
A joint research project between Teagasc Food Research Centre Moorepark, Ireland, and the University of Valencia, Spain (TEAGASC PHD WALSH SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY) in the Valorisation of carbohydrate-rich fractions from plant biomass waste streams generated in plant protein extraction processes is currently open for application from qualified candidates.
ABOUT THE FUNDED TEAGASC PHD WALSH SCHOLARSHIP
This PhD is expected to start in January 2023 and is a joint research project between Teagasc Food Research Centre Moorepark, Ireland (www.teagasc.ie) and the University of Valencia, Spain (www.uv.es). The student will be based primarily at Teagasc Food Research Centre Moorepark and will be registered at the University of
Valencia, so mobility between the two countries is expected. The research will be conducted under the supervision of Dr. Laura G. Gómez-Mascaraque and Dr. Rita Hickey (Teagasc) in association with Prof. Jose Vicente Gil Ponce and Dr. Amparo Lopez-Rubio (University of Valencia).
PROJECT BACKGROUND: Valorisation of carbohydrate-rich fractions from plant biomass waste streams generated in plant protein extraction processes
Exploring alternative and more sustainable sources of nutrients is necessary to address the challenge of feeding a fast-growing world population while ensuring that the impact of the agri-food sector on the environment is reduced. Significant research efforts are currently being made to diversify the use of plant proteins and incorporate them into a variety of food products. While the main focus has been placed on proteins, due to their high nutritional value, plant biomass is also a source of many other added-value compounds, including carbohydrates (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides) and other phyto-chemicals. Extracting and valorising these additional ingredients through a cascading approach is crucial to reducing waste while generating additional value from plant biomass, essential to fully exploit the potential of the Sustainable Circular Bioeconomy concept.
Carbohydrates play an important role in food by strengthening immunity, decreasing the level of blood-lipid, and regulating the intestinal flora of humans, beyond those simply used as energy-supplying materials. Polysaccharides are also structuring biomaterials and, as such, they have also been used to replace plastics in food packaging applications. Accordingly, and linking to ongoing projects at Teagasc focused on plant protein extraction, this PhD project will focus on the extraction and in-depth characterization of carbohydrate-rich fractions from side streams generated in plant protein extraction processes (currently discarded). Their monosaccharide composition, bioactivity (prebiotic, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties) and techno-functional characteristics (rheological properties, structuring potential, mechanical properties of resulting materials) will be studied, and the most promising extracts will be incorporated into model food products and food packaging prototypes.
To be eligible for consideration to enter the programme of study and research for the Degree of PhD, the candidate must have obtained:
- An MSc degree in a relevant field of study (Food Science, Food Technology, or similar).
- A minimum level of competency in English is required.
- The successful candidate should be enthusiastic and self- motivated to develop wet-lab technical skills across a range of disciplines and be prepared to work independently or as part of a team.
- He/She should have an interest in and aptitude for laboratory–based research.
VALUE OF AWARD
The scholarship funding is €24,000 per annum and is tenable for 4 years. This includes both student stipend and University fees. The student is expected to receive a stipend of €16,971.64 (Year 1), €16,971.64 (Year 2), €18,183.90 (Year 3), and €22,729.88 (Year 4), payable through the University of Valencia.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE FOR THE FUNDED PHD POSITION
Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest to [email protected] including ‘Pro-Carbs WS’ in the subject line (no applications will be considered without this specific subject as the emails will be automatically classified).
If you have any queries, you can contact us through the same email address.
Closing date for application
10th June 2022 (No applications will be considered after this deadline)