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Eastbio Biochemical, metabolomic & agronomic profiling of the tuberous legume food crop, Apios americana, for Scotland / UK.

   PHD Opportunities

About the Project

The proposed project will investigate the potential for developing an underutilised, high protein and nutritionally dense tuberous legume crop (Apios americana; potato bean) to be grown in Scotland and the wider UK at a commercial scale. Currently, little is known about the agronomy of A. americana  and a key aim of this project will be to aid the development of reliable methods of production. The crop species is a legume, so fertiliser requirements are likely to be relatively modest, and being an N fixing species, it has potential to support its own N nutritional requirements, as well as providing residual N which should be available for utilisation by the following crops in the rotation. A. americana has potential use in both human and livestock diets, with scope to reduce the import of unsustainable protein sources such as soya into the UK and as part of the circular economy, help move agriculture towards net-zero. Investigations of the tubers and above ground biomass from a very restricted genetic range of material indicate that these crops can be highly nutritious, not just in terms of protein (containing all the essential amino acids, and a rich of dietary fibre)2, but also trace elements and bioactive phytochemicals with known health benefits to humans and a range of livestock.

This research will be used in part to (1) maintain and expand the unique UK collection of the current Apios genetic material available (over 30 different varieties) (2) evaluate agronomic approaches which show the greatest potential for Apios to be reliably grown under Scottish / UK growing conditions, (3) evaluate Apios for its potential to deliver a range of ecosystem services and (4) screen the genetic material for their market-orientated nutritional, biochemical and metabolomic profiles. This links to a sister project which aims to complement this project by investigating the diversity, genomic characterisation and simulation of breeding potential of Apios; having the same ultimate goal: To establish A. americana as a (future) crop in Scotland/UK, to contribute to food security, diet and biodiversity.


Application instructions can be found on the EASTBIO website-

1)     Download and complete the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion survey.

2)     Download and complete the EASTBIO Application Form.

3)     Submit both to SRUC, .

A complete application must include the following documents:

  • Completed EASTBIO application form
  • 2 References (to be completed on the EASTBIO Reference Form, also found on the EASTBIO website)
  • Academic Qualifications
  • English Language Qualification (if applicable)

Unfortunately due to workload constraints, we cannot consider incomplete applications. Please make sure your application is complete by Monday 5th December 2022.

Funding Notes

This 4 year PhD project is part of a competition funded by EASTBIO BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership.
This opportunity is open to UK and International students and provides funding to cover stipend at UKRI standard rate and UK level tuition fees.

How good is research at SRUC - Scotland’s Rural College in Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Sciences?

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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