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A physiological and molecular analysis of the RHS rosemary collection - understanding and improving volatile synthesis

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, June 19, 2017
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Rosemary is one of the biggest-selling herbs in the UK, with over 5 million pots, bunches and packs sold per year. As well as its popularity for culinary flavouring, rosemary essential oils have been reported to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and even to improve memory.

A wide range of wild varieties exist and an extensive variation in volatile essential oil composition has been reported among the few that have been tested. This gives a wide assortment of different aromas and tastes. However, the biology behind this variation is poorly understood. The Royal Horticultural Society is currently carrying out a trial of a collection of over eighty rosemary varieties assembled from around the world. This studentship, funded by the RHS in conjunction with Royal Holloway University of London and Vitacress Herbs Ltd., aims to carry out a physiological and molecular analysis of the collection to better understand the biology of rosemary volatile production, while also identifying optimal varieties for cultivation.

The project will include analysis of the quality and quantity of the volatile essential oils and the study will aim to link this volatile profile to the expression of key biosynthetic genes (using RNAseq and qPCR) and to oil gland morphology (using SEM). The project will also examine the effect of growing conditions: temperature and light quality and quantity; and will explore whether addition of soil mycorrhiza can influence volatile production.

The project offers the opportunity to work closely with both the RHS and with Vitacress Herbs, the UK’s leading supplier of pot-grown and fresh cut herbs as well as providing training in a range of molecular biology techniques that will provide the student with excellent employment opportunities.

Further details can be obtained from the main project supervisor, Dr Paul Devlin,

Funding Notes

This studentship is part funded by the Royal Horticultural Society and Royal Holloway.

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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