Project Rationale and Description* [300 words max]
Vegetable milks represent an interesting alternative for those who, for personal life-style choices (e.g. veganism) or health-related issues (e.g. food allergies), decide not to consume milk of animal origin. However, their nutritional value is not comparable to that of animal milk, which may represent an issue for individuals with special dietary needs (e.g. infants) or affected by malabsorption conditions (e.g. bowel inflammatory diseases).
Fortification could be a feasible option to meet consumers’ needs. However, it frequently leads to technological challenges, mainly related to the low stability and/or absorption of the nutrients incorporated, which can undergo degradation reactions (e.g. oxidation) during and/or after processing.
Investigating the enrichment of vegetable milks with vitamin D is of particular interest for several reasons: (i) the growing number of individuals who experience vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, (ii) the crucial role that this fat soluble sterol plays in calcium and phosphate homeostasis and in the modulation of the immune system and (iii) the multiple challenges encountered when this vitamin is incorporated into food matrixes (e.g. poor water solubility, degradation due to light, heat and oxygen and variable oral bioavailability).
Due to the combination of environmental and physiological factors or current life-style choices that can lead to reduced sun exposure, there is a clear need to ensure physical and chemical stability of vitamin D after fortification and its bioavailability after ingestion. All these are aspects that could be addressed by developing effective delivery systems (encapsulation), which would prevent degradation and allow the control of the release at an intestinal level.
This project aims at investigating the impact of processing, storage and the food matrix composition on the physical and chemical stability and bioavailability of vitamin D in a range of fortified vegetable milks, and designing particle-based delivery systems to enhance its stability and control the release.
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: 1st July 2019 for October 2019 start, or 1st December 2018 for March 2019 start
Start Date: October or March
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers
This studentship is only open to self-funding candidates. Self-funding candidates are expected to pay University fees and to provide their own living costs. University fee bands are shown at
Projects in Applied Sciences are typically costed at Band 3 or Band 4.
Benlloch-Tinoco, M., Kaulmann, A., Corte-Real, J., Rodrigo, D., Martínez-Navarrete, N., & Bohn, T. (2015). Chlorophylls and carotenoids of kiwifruit puree are affected similarly or less by microwave than by conventional heat processing and storage. Food chemistry, 187, 254-262.
Benlloch-Tinoco, M., Igual, M., Rodrigo, D., & Martínez-Navarrete, N. (2015). Superiority of microwaves over conventional heating to preserve shelf-life and quality of kiwifruit puree. Food control, 50, 620-629.
Benlloch-Tinoco, M., Carranza-Concha, J., Camacho, M. M., & Martínez-Navarrete, N. (2015). Production of raisins and its impact on active compounds. In Processing and impact on active components in food (pp. 181-187).
Benlloch-Tinoco, M., Moraga, G., del Mar Camacho, M., & Martínez-Navarrete, N. (2013). Combined drying technologies for high-quality kiwifruit powder production. Food and Bioprocess Technology, 6(12), 3544-3553.
Carranza-Concha, J., Benlloch, M., Camacho, M. M., & Martínez-Navarrete, N. (2012). Effects of drying and pretreatment on the nutritional and functional quality of raisins. Food and Bioproducts Processing, 90(2), 243-248.