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Name of scholarship/program

Exploring the relationship between the structure of wheat dietary fibre and prebiotic activity

Important description
Cereal dietary fibre has well-established health benefits in terms of reducing serum cholesterol and CVD and reducing the incidence of colon cancer (Aune et al, BMJ, 2011; 343:d6617doi:10.1136/bmj.d6617). The mechanisms of these effects are poorly understood but it is likely that pre-biotic fermentation in the colon is a contributory mechanism. Previous collaborative studies between the applicant’s laboratories have shown that the major dietary fibre component in wheat grain, arabinoxylan (AX), has pre-biotic activity which is related to mass (Hughes et al, J Agric Food Chem 2007). The present studentship will explore these relationships in more detail using transgenic wheat lines already generated at Rothamsted Research as well as other genetic wheat stocks.

The successful candidate will be based at Rothamsted Research for the majority of the PhD work, and registered as a PhD student at the University of Reading. At Rothamsted the AX fractions from wheat will be isolated and characterised using HPAEC, HP-SEC-MALLS, MALDI-MS and NMR. The prebiotic activity of the fractions will be determined during secondments to the University of Reading, using fermentation in batch cultures, fluorescent in situ hybridisation analysis to quantify effects on bacterial populations and 1H NMR to determine metabolites released. The project will be integrated with a new Reading:Rothamsted grant focused on developing new prebiotics from spent grains from distilling and bioethanol production.

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in Biochemistry/Food Science to the University of Reading– see http://www.reading.ac.uk/Study/apply/pg-applicationform.aspx . Please quote the reference GS13-02 in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your online application.

Eligibility and other criteria
(European/UK Students Only)
This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
* 22 February 2013

Additional information, and important URL

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a relevant subject. Please note that, due to restrictions on the funding, this studentship is for UK/EU applicants only.Studentship will cover Home/EU Fees and pay the Research Council minimum stipend (£13,590 for 2011/12) for up to 4 years. To apply for this studentship, please submit an application for a PhD in mathematical modelling and crop physiology to the University – see http://www.reading.ac.uk/Study/apply/pg-applicationform.aspx . Please quote the reference GS13-01 in the ‘Scholarships applied for’ box which appears within the Funding Section of your online application.

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