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Shell waste from Aquaculture: Waste product or untapped resource?

  • Full or part time
    Dr H Hughes
    Dr M Kinsella
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, April 26, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Post summary

Applications are invited for suitably qualified candidates interested in pursuing a PhD by completing a multidisciplinary and extremely industrially relevant research project within the PMBRC/EIRC at WIT. The candidate will be enrolled on the WIT Structured PhD programme at Waterford IT which will allow them to gain experience and project required skills from subject matter experts in the fields of extractions, analytical chemistry and microbiology.

The marine environment is a diverse source of currently underutilised potential with resources such as seaweed, fish, and shells containing compounds with varying applications. Of particular interest is the shellfish sector which generates a significant amount of waste shells which are of no commercial value currently but carries a cost of disposal, leading to a significant sectoral problem, nationally but also in the South-East of Ireland. The proposed research seeks to extract compounds of high commercial value due to their bioactivity (e.g. antimicrobials), as well as applying shell components as bioadsorbents for nitrate and phosphate recovery from industrial wastewater. Ground shells in both natural and heat treated formats will also be tested for their antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant and toxicity properties for potential use in pharmaceutical applications. Project outcomes will be of direct significance to the fisheries/shellfish production industries and pharmaceutical companies. It is envisaged this research will underpin and enable waste products (waste shells from the shellfish processing sector) to serve as a feedstock for the pharmaceutical industry.

Project Objectives

• To meet the growing needs of the shellfish production sector for converting marine waste into higher-value added alternatives, bringing shells into the rapidly growing circular bioeconomy.
• To develop and evaluate a range of cost-effective, novel, environmentally friendly/scalable methods for bioactive extraction from shellfish waste from South East Ireland.
• To perform bioactivity testing, such as antimicrobial activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, antioxidant and toxicity testing on these extracts.
• To develop a mini circular economy within the fish processing and pharmaceutical industries where waste shellfish shells are used to recover and recycle phosphate and nitrate from industrial wastewaters.

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year full-time structured PhD programme

Stipend: €12,000 p/a
Fees: €4,500 p/a
Research costs: €2,000 p/a

For any informal queries, please contact Helen Hughes, +353 51 834047

For further information on this scholarship and how to apply, please visit View Website

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