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Seaweed Bioactives Supplemented Animal Feeds


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  Dr Owen Kenny  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Background: In many European countries, pig production is responsible for the highest consumption of veterinary antibiotics, particularly antibiotics such as penicillins, tetracyclines, potentiated sulphonamides and macrolides. Although antibiotic resistance is inevitable, the over-prescription and often misuse of antibiotics can lead to accelerated development of resistant bacterial strains, thus reducing the lifespan of current antibiotics used in the treatment of livestock. The issue of antibiotic resistance is further exasperated by the decline in the discovery of novel antibiotics that are capable of inhibiting the growth of pathogens and resistant pathogens alike. Subsequently, further action is warranted to investigate sustainable strategies for providing; i) novel antimicrobial agents and ii) compounds capable of increasing the efficacy and overall lifespan of current antibiotics. One such approach may involve the use of naturally occurring compounds such as phlorotannins from macroalage.

The potential commercialisation of seaweeds as a natural source of biofunctional ingredients has led to increasing interest from Agri-Food sector in recent times. Consequently, research into the bioactive properties, and indeed the compounds responsible for their activity, has intensified worldwide. On a national level, the biodiversity of seaweed species growing in Irish coastal waters has garnered much attention as an underutilised and sustainable source for marine bioactives, ultimately viewed as contributing to the future success of Ireland’s bio-economy. This project will seek to evaluate the efficacy of phlorotannin enriched fractions as antimicrobial agents against a range of priority bacterial pathogens encountered during pig production. This project will also compare the antimicrobial efficacy of extracts generated from green extraction methods compared to more conventional practices. Finally, this project will investigate the ability of phlorotannin enriched fractions to overcome antimicrobial resistance, with a view to prolonging the overall lifespan of existing antibiotics used in pork production. Moreover, it is envisaged that this project will provide further understanding as to the efficacy of phlorotannins as antimicrobial agents within commercial animal feeds.

Requirements: Applicants should hold a BSc. degree (minimum 2.1) in; microbiology, food science, biochemistry, biomolecular sciences, or a related discipline. Applicants should possess strong skills in; quantitative data analysis, scientific communication and report writing, organisation and problem solving. Applicants should possess the following competencies; ability to work autonomously, highly self-motivated and ability to meet deadlines.

Application Procedure: Applicants are required to submit (as one single pdf file) an electronic copy of their Curriculum Vitae and a Letter of Interest to [Email Address Removed], quoting the reference number 2021R647 in the subject field.

Closing date: 5pm (IST), 15/07/2022

Funding Notes

Funding: €18,000 stipend per annum, with an additional €6,000 available for university fees.
Location: The successful candidate will be primarily based at ATU Sligo campus (Sligo, Ireland).
Further Information: Dr Owen Kenny ([Email Address Removed])
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