PhD Opportunity Bioremediation and Bioenergy from Filamentous Algae



Supervisor: Dr Blanca Antizar-Ladislao

The University of Edinburgh (UoE) and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), based on the west coast of Scotland, are offering four fully funded PhD collaborative studentships to outstanding candidates from the UK and EU, one of which will be based in the School of Engineering, UoE.

Applications are invited for postgraduate research leading to a PhD degree in Environmental Engineering.

Algae are capable of growing in a vast array of different environments and may have growth rates at least 10% higher than their terrestrial “higher plant” counterparts. Furthermore, their metabolic versatility and capacity to sequester both nutrients and toxicants has stimulated interest and their application in the use of algae (micro/ macro) for water treatment (in fish production, whisky industry, agricultural/ industrial effluents, waste water, etc.) is well established. Recently, there has been considerable interest in the use of algae for bioenergy.

Cladophora Kututzing (Ulvophyceae) is a cosmopolitan green filamentous algal species found in both fresh and marine water, in rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal locations. It has previously been described as an ecological engineer supporting large diverse populations of both microalgae and bacteria that in-turn influence carbon cycling and produce large quantities of cellulose and hydrocarbons. Although usually benthic in nature several Cladophora species are capable of forming mats and have been reported in relation to eutrophication and studied to explore the influence of environmental pollution on ecosystem stability. The cell walls of Cladophora have ion exchange properties and can bind metals such as lead, copper and zinc. This capacity to remove heavy metals from wastewater has stimulated interest in the potential use of this particular algal species for environmental bioremediation. Furthermore, the filamentous nature of this alga obviates the expense of centrifugation or other expensive harvesting approaches. This organism has clear potential for both bioremediation and utilization of the biomass produced for bioenergy production. This studentship will explore the use of algal biomass for both wastewater clean-up and bioenergy production.

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Initial informal enquiries may be made to Dr Blanca Antizar-Ladislao: [email protected]
http://www.see.ed.ac.uk/drupal/iie/research/seed/

Application deadline: 26th July 2013.

Interviews are expected to take place mid-August 2013.

Funding Notes:

Motivated candidates are sought, with a first class or upper second-class honours degree in environmental engineering, chemical engineering, biotechnology, biochemistry, or a cognate discipline.
Knowledge of analytical chemistry, experimental work and an ability to work with researchers in biology will be advantageous.

Studentships will provide 3.5 years of funding and will follow NERC funding rules and eligibility criteria. Funding will cover: student stipend at Research Councils UK rates; university fees at the UK/EU rate; training support costs.

Students who do not meet the UK residency requirements and are EU member state citizens will be eligible for a fees only award.

To apply please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

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