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Ethanol driven building fungus colonisation: ‘whisky black’ in urban built environments

School of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment

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Dr David Ligouri , Dr Nigel Craig , Dr C Hunter No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Reference number: SCEBE/21S/006/DL

Aims and Scope

The spirits industry is a major contributor to economies worldwide. The production of many spirits requires years of maturation in barrels. This process involves a significant release of ethanol into the surrounding environment, providing carbon nutrition for the colonisation of black fungal growths, one type being Baudoinia compniensis, or Whisky Black.

Although the fungal growth is localised in production areas, numerous sites exist nationally and globally, and the extent and implications of colonisation has not to date been meaningfully investigated.

This research will survey areas surrounding a location where whisky is maturing in nearby bonded warehouses. The colonisation of ‘whisky black’ on the urban environment will be considered from a distance from the ethanol source radial zoning perspective; building orientation; architectural form and detailing’ and a materials substrate perspective. Classical key stages of Building Pathology, namely, with manifestation, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy framing the discursive analysis.

The key findings of the research will hope to identify that the colonisation of the fungus on the built environment is shown to be non-uniform and dependent on the substrate building material. In addition, aspects such as the influence of distance, height, wind direction and moisture will be considered relative to the extent and level of fungal growth. The end results will hopefully ensure that production processes of spirits worldwide are cleaner, and to facilitate open dialogue between stakeholders that recognize the aspirations of values of corporate social responsibility, whilst balancing the economic importance of distilling regionally with recognition of aspects such as the fungus’s impact on property values and appropriate recurring remedial treatments.

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time PhD study programme with expected start date of 1 May or 1 October 2021.

To apply

· As a full-time student:

· As a part-time student:

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. 

Please send any other enquires regarding your application to: [Email Address Removed] or to the project lead Dr Nigel Craig, Email: [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

PhD funded Project: The studentship of £20,009 per year is for three years. The studentship covers the payment of tuition fees (£4,400 for UK students) plus an annual stipend of £15,609 for UK students

Further details of fees, scholarships and discounts at


To discuss the project, please contact:
Dr Nigel Craig
GCU Research Online URL:

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