The influence of wood versus stainless steel washbacks in distillery fermentations has been a long-running interest. The natural microbiological flora present within the distillery and in raw materials has also been widely studied, but a number of questions still remain. It is thought that the microbiological flora within wooden washbacks is responsible for an increase in the levels of particular congeners in whisky, more specifically, the presence of methyl ketones. This project will investigate the microbiological flora within a range of distilleries to determine which species are present. Their influence on the production of specific flavour-active methyl ketones will also be examined.
The research will be completed at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD), Edinburgh (UK). The centre has a long history of closely collaborating with industrial partners in brewing and distilling and is part of the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences located in the Riccarton campus of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. The multidisciplinary nature of this project would suit candidates with a background in microbiology or analytical chemistry. Strong laboratory skills will be vital to this project and practical experience of microbiological techniques, analytical chemistry (GC-MS, GC-FID, HPLC) and genetic analysis (PCR, RT-PCR) whilst not essential, would be an advantage.
The funding is available to Home/EU students. The ideal candidate will have a 1st or strong 2:1 Honours degree or a Masters in a biological science, chemical or biochemical engineering discipline (or similar scientific field). Please direct enquiries and applications (CV and cover letter) to Dr Annie Hill ([email protected]). The closing date for applications is 1st March 2020.