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PhD Studentship: The impacts of carbohydrate and protein interactions in novel feed ingredients on amino acid digestibility


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Tuesday 17 January 2023
Reference:  SCI2129

Subject area: Biosciences (BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership, Researcher Academy)

UoN Supervisor names: Prof John Brameld, Dr Joanne Gould and Prof Tim Parr (School of Biosciences) with Dr Mike Bedford (AB Vista)

About the Project

Feed efficiency in livestock is currently dependent on feeding high quality ingredients such as soybean meal. There is an urgent need to find alternative more sustainable protein sources for animal feeds. The Future Proteins Platform1 is investigating a number of potential alternative protein sources, including under-utilised crops, such as Bambara groundnut and Winged bean, as well as microalgae, insects and single-cell proteins (SCP), which have high (50-70%) protein contents and can be produced using waste or extremely low-quality feed sources. However they are also high in carbohydrate (CHO), particularly fibre, and anti-nutritional factors (ANFs) which can reduce digestibility/ bioavailability of nutrients. Animal feeds in future are likely to include mixtures of these various sources, which means processing will be needed to reduce the ANF content, but this could also lead to CHO-protein interactions that also impact digestibility. Hence, fibre digesting exogenous enzymes, such as cellulases, xylanases, pectinases and chitinases, could be used to help improve digestibility/ bioavailability.

In order to study these CHO-protein interactions and the impacts of enzymes, the project aim is to develop an in vitro digestion model for chickens and determine the impact of processing methods and exogenous enzymes on amino acid digestibility for a range of alternative feed mixtures. The impacts on in vitro digestibility will then be compared with in vivo measurements in broiler chickens.

The work will build on our recent work developing and evaluating a standardised (Infogest) in vitro model for protein digestion and so the student will join a group of other PhD students and researchers working in this area.

The PhD studentship is sponsored by AB Agri/ AB Vista, one of the world’s leading feed and exogenous enzyme companies2, providing access to various exogenous enzymes and the opportunity for the student to have an industrial placement with them.

Future Proteins Platform

2 AB Agri: AB Vista:

Award Start date: October 2023

Duration of Award: 4 years

Home and international students are welcome to apply for this opportunity. Funding is available for four years from late September 2023. The award covers tuition fee (£4,596) at the home rate plus an annual stipend which was (£17,668) for 2022. This is set by the Research Councils. Please note that successful international candidates will be put forward for a University Fees Difference Scholarship to cover the difference between the home and international fee.

To apply and check your eligibility, please click go to and you can find further information about how to apply to our programme. 

Informal enquiries may be addressed to or 

Apply online here by noon on Tuesday 17th January 2023

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