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Designing a microbial platform for the biorefinery of Sargassum (brown algae) golden tides

Project Description

Oceans are the largest untapped growth opportunity for biomass. As an
illustration, golden tides due to the massive beaching of floating Sargassum
(brown algae) originating from the Equatorial Atlantic occur regularly since
2011 on the Caribbean shores. In addition, very recent analysis of satellite data
showed that a great Atlantic Sargassum belt extended from West Africa to the
Gulf of Mexico. Massive and recurrent blooms are seen as an additional
consequence of climate change and ocean pollution, and may become the new
norm for the Caribbean region. This unexpected kind a natural disaster has
significant negative environmental and economic impact in this part of the
world. Most of the deposited Sargassum biomass is harvested and brought to
landfill. Meanwhile, brown algae are used for industrial applications, and are
suggested as an interesting feedstock for producing feed, food, energy, and
high-value chemicals. The aim of this project is to investigate how to turn
golden tides into values. The valorisation of this non-traditional natural
resource implies establishing new industrial biotechnological approaches,
including bespoke microbial platforms. In this context, natural Sargassum
degraders will be isolated, characterized, and engineered for the synthesis of
valuable bio-products.

Funding Notes

This studentship is fully funded for four years and covers: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£15,009 estimated for 2020 entry), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.


Entry requirements: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this research project means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing biological questions.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of York in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.37

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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