Principal Industrial Supervisor – Richard Allan, Chivas Brothers
Principal Academic Supervisors – Dr. Davide Bulgarelli, University of Dundee
Additional Supervisors – Dr. Eric Paterson & Dr. Kelly Houston James Hutton Institute
This project will be based at the James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie and the appointed student will registered at the University of Dundee as the degree awarding institution.
This project aims at elucidating and capitalising on the genetic basis of plant-microbiota interactions to reduce the carbon footprint of malting barley production. Agricultural soils contribute to ~5% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission globally, with negative implications for entire food chains and sustainable development. For example, 50% of the carbon footprint of a single bottle of whisky is represented by the GHG emission associated to the production of malting barley in the field. Yet, this problem may well represent part of the solution as agricultural soils are an untapped sink for carbon. Key towards this solution is harnessing the interactions between plants and the microbial communities thriving at the root-soil interface, collectively referred to as the plant microbiota. We previously demonstrated that the barley genome controls, at least in part, microbiota composition and carbon fluxes at the root-soil interface. In this project, we will capitalise on these breakthrough discoveries to address three interconnected questions:
- How do malting barley varieties differ in carbon footprint?
- Can we use ancestral and wild barley material to expand the genetic variability for carbon footprint of cultivated malting varieties?
- Can we develop innovative barley genotypes capable of conjugating a reduced carbon footprint with a premium malting quality?
To address these questions, the student will embark on a multidisciplinary research project encompassing plant genetics and genomics, microbial ecology, carbon cycling measurements from soil as well as computational and statistical analyses. On completion of this project, the student will have gained fundamentally novel insights into molecular plant-microbe interactions at the root-soil interface and pave the way for an initial decarbonisation of malting barley production.
The student will be based at the newly established
International Barley Hub (IBH, https://www.barleyhub.org/) where s/he will
profit from interactions with a diverse and multidisciplinary scientific
community, including other BARIToNE PhD students, and will use state-of-the-art
If you would like to discuss this project in more detail, please contact Davide Bulgarelli ([Email Address Removed]) for more information
How to Apply
Please visit the main BARIToNE programme page for more details