About the Project
The main objective of this project is to develop a novel analytical method that could determine the geographical origin of processed palm oil in order to differentiate end-products derived from newly deforested lands vs second rotation or older plantations, and between end products from oil grown on peat and mineral soils. The guiding hypothesis is that the origin of a plant-derived product can be detected as a unique chemical signature in the plant material in terms of elemental or stable isotope composition, or through its metabolomics profile. This will be tested through precise mapping of soil chemistry across environmental gradients and analyses of the polar and non-polar metabolites of plant tissues, including dried leaves, oil and processed end-products This project will be conducted in partnership with the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP) and the RSPO using field sites within commercial oil palm plantations across Southeast Asia.
The PhD candidate will gain a range of critical skills, including (i) an advanced conceptual understanding of environmental chemistry, climate change and conservation sciences for competitive progression in a career spanning these fields; (ii) experience in liaising with overseas stakeholders of global importance ;(iii) expertise in the analysis of fats and oils using state-of-the-art omics and especially lipidomics platforms; (iv) expertise in trace elemental analysis using ICP-MS and other systems; (v) advanced expertise in multivariate modelling and large-scale datasets using specialised open source software; (vi) experience in analytical method validation; and (vii) advanced expertise in scientific writing gained through leadership/participation in the preparation of publications for leading peer reviewed journals.
More project details are available here: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/projects/authentication-of-sustainable-oil-palm-production-for-protection-of-tropical-biodiversity/
How to apply: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/how-to-apply/
Note that applications should NOT be submitted directly to Queen’s.
Before applying please check full funding and eligibility information: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/funding-and-eligibility/
Alaswad, F., Mohamat-Yusuff, F., Ismail, A., Kusin, F. M., Zulkifli, S. Z., & Awang, M. Tracing carbon and nitrogen fluxes in soil of log-over forest and highly degraded area of oil palm plantations using stable isotope analysis.
Tan, K. T., Lee, K. T., Mohamed, A. R., & Bhatia, S. (2009). Palm oil: addressing issues and towards sustainable development. Renewable and sustainable energy reviews, 13(2), 420-427.
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