Functional food ingredients from the oleaginous yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima

   Department of Chemical Engineering

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  Prof Chris Chuck  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath is inviting applications for the following fully funded PhD project, expected to commence January 2023.


The aim of this PhD project is to replace a range of food ingredients, such as palm oil and soybean protein, that are directly responsible for deforestation of tropical rainforest, with those produced from the yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima. In your PhD you will join a wider, dynamic team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs based across the University of Bath and the Clean Food Group, London, a highly innovative, purpose-driven start-up at the leading edge of developing novel foods from cellular agriculture, addressing deforestation and climate change. By producing novel food ingredients from cell culture, rather than animals and tropical oils, the group is helping build a world where interesting, healthy foods can be produced with minimal impact on the global environment. M. pulcherrima is a novel biotechnological platform that can produce a range of potential ingredients including lipids, proteins, carbohydrates as well as vital vitamins and minerals, antimicrobials and higher value fragrances. We have previously demonstrated that the yeast can be grown on a variety of low-cost substrates and have scaled the production to the pilot scale producing a lipid suitable as a palm oil substitute. We have a number of areas of interest in this project and are happy to shape a PhD around your skills and background.

These areas can include

- Biological strain improvement, using adaptive laboratory evolution and mutagenesis to build more suitable industrial strains

- Food science & engineering, to investigate the development of novel foods with the functional components produced from the yeast in collaboration with our commercial partners, this includes the development of novel vegan meat substitutes and combining with cultured meat cells to produce finished products.

- Biochemical engineering and scale up. We are scaling the yeast process to the demonstration scale over the next 12 months and you will have the opportunity to work at scale and optimise the processing side. This can also include modelling the lifecycle and technoeconomics of the final process.

- Downstream processing. The target strains will be lysed using novel low energy homogenisation techniques previously developed for this application in the department. The yeast will also be assessed for the selective fractionation and purification using mechanochemical extractive technology. In this area the yeast will be lysed with various additional solvents and reagents to target the production and separation of the various target food components.

Candidate Requirements

Applicants should ideally hold, or expect to receive, an undergraduate first class degree or MSc distinction (or non-UK equivalent). This degree should be in Food Engineering (or related subject), Food Science, Biological Sciences (such as Biology, Biochemistry or Biotechnology etc.), Chemical Engineering (or related subject such as Biochemical Engineering or Process Engineering). 

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Prof Chris Chuck - [Email Address Removed]

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Chemical Engineering

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.


Yeast, sustainability, engineering, process, food, novel foods, Agricultural Technology, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Food Production, Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Food Sciences, Integrated Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Microbiology

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project will be considered for 3-year industry sponsored studentship provided by The Clean Food Group. This full funding will cover tuition fees, a training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,609 for 2021/22). Funding is confirmed at the 'Home' tuition fee rate. Funding at the 'Overseas' tuition fee rate may be possible, subject to contract.
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