PhD Studentship: Encapsulating and cryoprotecting properties of natural composites based on gum acacia

University of Nottingham

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Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Tuesday 20 June 2023
Reference:  SCI2190

BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership, Researcher Academy

UoN Supervisor names: Dr Vincenzo Di Bari, A/Prof Gleb Yakubov with Dr George Haddad (Agrigum International) 

Research Title: Encapsulating and cryoprotecting properties of natural composites based on gum acacia

Subject Area: Biosciences, Food Sciences, Physical Chemistry, Biotechnology 

The phenomenon of emergent behaviour in biopolymer systems has been a captivating subject for a long time, providing valuable insights into the behaviour of self-organizing systems. In this study, we investigate the structure of gum acacia resin, a natural polymer commonly used in food and biopharmaceutical applications. By taking inspiration from nature, our goal is to understand the relationship between the structure and physical properties of gum acacia. This knowledge will enable us to elucidate the functional role of gum acacia in nutrition and cryopreservation. The applications of this research include the encapsulation of probiotics and nutrients, which can be achieved by controlling the kinetics of dissolution and creating a barrier against harsh biological environments such as gastric secretions. Additionally, gum acacia can be reassembled upon drying and freezing, making it useful for protecting fragile materials like proteins, vaccines, cell cultures, and tissues.

The project is an exciting collaboration between Food and Biomaterials Research Group (School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham) and Agrigum International, a Buckinghamshire-based sustainable ingredient innovation company. 

In addition to the academic requirements for the project the following skills and behaviours would be highly advantageous: A curiosity to expand your knowledge of business practices and how research insights can be translated into consumer applications. An appreciation of the benefits of stakeholder management. Strong communication skills with the ability to tailor information to the needs of different audiences.

Award Start Date: October 2023

Duration of Award: 4 years 

Terms and Conditions: This opportunity is open to Home students only in this round. Funding is available for four years from late September 2023. The award covers tuition fee £4,712 at the home rate plus an annual stipend which has been confirmed as £18,622 for 2023/24. This is set by the Research Councils. 

Applicant Qualification Requirements: 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 [email protected] or [email protected]  

Closing date: Apply by noon on Tuesday 20th June 2023

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