Studentship opportunity: organic phosphate cycling in soils

The biodiversity of organic phosphate (phytate) cycling in soils (BREARLEY_UBIO17EE) – CASE studentship with AB Vista/AB Enzymes

 Project Supervisor: Dr Charles Brearley (

School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia

Project description (more information here)

Phytate (inositol hexakisphosphate) is one of the most abundant organic phosphates in the environment and is of great importance to the global P-cycle. Synthesized by plants, the amount harvested in beans, grains, tubers and other organs is equivalent to the amount of phosphate fertilizer applied to soils per annum. That not harvested enters soils where it undergoes biological and geochemical transformations. We do not know which organisms are responsible for recycling phytate phosphate in the environment, it likely depends on the soil type, but we have strong evidence that microbial phytases are responsible.

Project aims
To study the role of bacteria in phytate/phosphate recycling in soils, particularly to identify the species and the enzymes they express that are responsible for phytate recycling, and so to provide lead enzymes for our industrial partner’s next generation phytase discovery programmes.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on 14/15 February 2017.

Successful candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship. In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a full award. In 2016/17, the stipend was £14,296.

  • Start date October 2017
  • Programme PhD
  • Studentship Length 3.5 years

more information here

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