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The biosynthesis, regulation and engineering of high value industrial and nutritional isoprenoids

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Plant and microbial secondary metabolites can confer important agronomic traits, they are often essential components of the human diet, and in some cases have been used as phytomedicines, industrial raw materials and high-value fine chemicals. These important properties have made many plant secondary metabolites industrially valuable. Our focus is the biosynthesis, regulation and engineering of isoprenoid derived metabolites, of particular interest are compounds of high value with industrial and nutritional applications. Many isoprenoids have industrial relevance with global markets in the range of $ 1 billion per annum. A contributing factor to the high cost of these molecules resides in the fact that they are produced in low yields by slow growing plant species. It is therefore not surprising that total or semi-synthetic chemical synthesis is presently the method of choice for obtaining many of these isoprenoid molecules. However, their structural complexity makes chemical synthesis expensive and difficult. The creation of renewable bio-sources of these molecules with improved economic and environmental potential is an important aim of our. Projects are available in the following areas.

(i) Biosynthesis, regulation and engineering of nutritional and industrial high-vale isoprenoids. Including, pathway engineering and organelle manipulation (increased plastids, altering plastid type and the enhancement of carbon fixation).
(http://www.isoprenoid.com; http://www.plantengine.eu)
(ii) Identification and characterisation of QTL for health related phytochemicals. These projects include functional characterisation of variant alleles validation of systems biology outputs. (http://www.erapg.org/publicitem.m?key=everyone&pgid=19544&trail=/everyone/16790/18613/19533/19544)

(iii) Metabolic characterisation of novel pigmented probiotics, Mycobacterium species and Salmonella.

All projects will use a combination of biochemical and molecular techniques including systems biology approaches (transcriptomics proteomics and metabolomics).


1. Fraser, P.D., Roemer, S., Cathie A. Shipton, Philippa B. Mills, Joy W. Kiano, Norihiko Misawa, Rachel G. Drake, Wolfgang Schuch and Peter M. Bramley. (2002). Biochemical evaluation of transgenic Tomato plants expressing an additional phytoene synthase in a fruit-specific manner. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA., 99, 1092-1097.
2. Fraser, P.D., Enfissi, E.M.A., Halket, J.M., Truesdale, M.R., Dongmei, Yu, Gerrish, C. Bramley, P.M. (2007). Manipulation of Phytoene levels in Tomato Fruit: Effects on Isoprenoids, Plastids and Intermediary Metabolism. Plant Cell, 19, 3194-3211.
3. Eugenia M.A. Enfissi, Fredy Barneche, Ikhlak Ahmed, Christiane Lichtlé, Christopher Gerrish, Ryan P. McQuinn, James J. Giovannoni, Enrique Lopez-Juez, Chris Bowler, Peter M. Bramley, and Paul D. Fraser Integrative Transcript and Metabolite Analysis of Nutritionally Enhanced DE-ETIOLATED1 Downregulated Tomato Fruit Plant Cell 22: 1190-1215.
4. Laura Perez-Fons, Sabine Steiger, Reena Khaneja, Peter M. Bramley, Simon M. Cutting,
Gerhard Sandmann, Paul D. Fraser, Identification and the developmental formation of carotenoid pigments in the yellow/orange Bacillus spore-formers, BBA, 1811, 2011, 177-185.

How good is research at Royal Holloway, University of London in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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