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PhD Studentship – Microbial contribution to phosphorus availability in the rhizosphere of wheat plants.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Dumont
    Prof T Roose
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for crops, but the world is facing a shortage of readily available phosphorus fertilizer. Phosphorus fertilisation also contributes to environmental degradation and the pollution of waterways; therefore finding alternatives to traditional fertilisation is one of the important challenges facing society. Some microorganisms in soil are able to solubilise or mineralise phosphorus, which they make available to plants. These microorganisms belong to the category of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and offer a more efficient and environmentally sustainable alternative to chemical fertilisation. Plants naturally select for beneficial microorganisms in soil by releasing carbon from their roots, which stimulates bacterial growth. The objective of this project will be to identify these soil bacteria associated with wheat plants and determine their ability to provide phosphorus to growing plants. A variety of methods will be used, including the isolation of bacteria, metagenomics and stable isotope probing techniques. Ultimately, this research will help to design new strategies for improving crop production by enhancing beneficial associations between plants and soil bacteria.

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 3 years and welcomes applicants from the UK and EU who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in Biological Sciences or allied subjects. Funding will cover fees and a stipend at current research council rates of £ 14,057 per annum.

Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK/EU applicants.


Applications for an MPhil/PhD in Biological Sciences should be submitted online at:


Please place Marc Dumont’s name in the field for proposed supervisor.

General enquiries should be made to [email protected] Any queries on the application process should be made to [email protected]

Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified.

The University of Southampton and the Centre for Biological Sciences both hold an Athena Swan Bronze Award, demonstrating their commitment to provide equal opportunities and to advance the representation of women in STEM/M subjects: science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. University benefits include onsite childcare facilities, state-of-the-art on-campus sports, arts and culture facilities, a full programme of events and a range of staff discounts.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
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