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Evaluation and optimization of flavor changes during oat processing: An integrated fingerprinting-kinetics approach

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  • Full or part time
    Dr B Kebede
    Prof I Oey
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Host Institution : University of Otago, Department of Food Science
Location : Dunedin, New Zealand
Partner Institution(s) : Harraway and Sons Ltd, Dunedin, New Zealand
Supervisor(s) : Dr. Biniam Kebede, Prof. Indrawati Oey, Michael Gin
Start date : 1 March 2019, or as soon as possible
Duration : 36 months

Project Description
Due to numerous health benefits, the demand for oat-based products has been on the increase over the last decade. Oat-based products are characterized by the nutty-caramel grainy impression. This flavour development depends on the oat variety, composition, and also involved processing steps. There is gap in literature on the impact of the processing steps on the aroma development in oat-based products. This project strives to bridge the gap and provide a fundamental understanding on the impact of food processing steps on volatile aroma compounds in oats.

We will systematically study how each oat processing condition (such as kilning, steaming, rolling/flaking, and drying) can influence the aroma volatile compounds. The correlation of volatile compounds with other attributes, such as lipid profile, will also be studies. To get a quantitative and fundamental understanding into the changes, the state-the-art analytical methods (e.g. fingerprinting) will be used. Based upon our results, we will obtain an increased insight in development of product properties (in particular volatile profiles) during oat processing from raw materials to finished products.

In this project, the Ph.D. candidate will work closely with an oat processing company based in Dunedin New Zealand: Harraway and Sons Ltd. The candidate will be based at the Department of Food Science, University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

This PhD project is funded by the Callaghan Innovation (New Zealand) in collaboration with Harraway and Sons Ltd. The student will be supervised by Dr Biniam Kebede and Prof. Indrawati Oey at the University of Otago and Michael Gin at Harraway and Sons Ltd.

Eligibility: Equivalent of a New Zealand 1st class Honours degree or an MSc degree (both with a significant research component) in either food science or technology, food chemistry, food engineering, chemical engineering with a minimum GPA in the A range (US equivalent). A strong publication track record is also preferable. Having work experience and a good understanding of food processing and chemical analysis is essential.
Applicants must be eligible for admission to the PhD Programme at the University of Otago (

Personal attributes and behaviors
• Good interpersonal skills.
• Good communication skills in both the academic and industrial environments.
• Demonstrated ability to undertake self-directed research activities.
• Demonstrated ability to write scientific publications.
• An understanding of food science and technology, food engineering, chemical engineering.
• Experience in food processing, chemical analysis (e.g. flavor, fatty acid analysis and starch analysis) is desirable.

Documentation to include in your application
• A detailed CV
• The names and contact details of two referees
• A certified copy of an academic transcript
• A PDF copy of your research dissertation or thesis (if available)
• A written statement (300-500 words) outlining why this project interests you and how you meet the selection criteria
• Evidence of English language ability, according to the University of Otago policy (
• Further documentation may be required upon request.

Contact Information:
Interested candidates who meet the eligibility criteria should contact Dr. Biniam Kebede
([Email Address Removed]) or [Email Address Removed]

The application closes on 15th of December 2018, or as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

Funding Notes

This is a funded PhD Project
Scholarship : NZD$26,000 + tuition fees per annum for 3 years

Note: International PhD students pay tuition fees at the New Zealand domestic rate, provided that the students reside in New Zealand and study under a New Zealand student visa.


Please provide the names and contact details of two referees with your application.

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