Precision Sprouting Technology for Grains and Pulses with Targeted Nutrition and Quality Traits

Joint Nottingham-Adelaide BBSRC DTP CASE PhD - Precision Sprouting Technology for Grains and Pulses with Targeted Nutrition, Sustainability and Quality Traits

This exciting project will explain the role of sprouting and fermentation of grains and pulses on flavour traits, digestibility, nutritional quality and sustainability credentials.

Sprouting and roasting of grains for bioactive development and improved digestibility is an approved food processing tool. However, there is no clear fundamental understanding of the mechanism behind this process. Therefore, there is an urgent need for precision tools to be developed that can explain the process and be used to target flavour development using a combination of natural and enhanced microbiomes for cereals (malt) and further to extend this technology to pulses.

Pulses are in high demand by the plant-based meat industry, but often contain off notes due to the action of endogenous LOX, internal studies have shown that germination/malting can mitigate these off-notes. Cross category (cereals and pulses) models will be developed to explain the complex biological interactions that occur and used to develop predictive models to develop the next generation of malted flavours for foods and beverages with enhanced sustainability and digestibility credentials.

In addition to the advanced doctoral training provided by Nottingham, Adelaide, and the Doctoral Training Programme, you will also receive specific training on food science, flavour chemistry, second and third generation sequencing, data science and machine learning and industrial and commercialisation training.

You will be expected to travel and will be based: Year 1: (University of Nottingham); Year 2: (University of Nottingham); Year 3: (University of Adelaide); Year 4: (University of Nottingham) with regular visits to the industry partner (AB Mauri).

You will be expected to have practical biosciences laboratory skills and knowledge of food science, statistics/chemometrics/data science and food processing. Specific skills in flavour chemistry, sequencing, big data, food engineering, and microbiology will be of benefit, but not essential as training will be provided.

  • The International Flavour Research Centre led by Professor Ian Fisk has laboratories in both Nottingham and Adelaide and will provide advanced flavour characterisation tools including GC-MS, GC-O and though a major recent investment GC-QTOF-S. GC-MS and GC-O will be used to evaluated key aroma compounds and GC-QTOF (+sulphur detector) will be used to identify novel bioactive compounds.
  • Associate Professor Iain Searle will provide access to a unique microbiome library and malting equipment, which will be used to ferment and roast multiple grains/pulses. This will be supported by second and third generation sequencing and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify QTL associated with flavour and nutritional enhancement.
  • AB Mauri will provide pilot production facilities for fermentation and roasting and will produce unique products fermented using naturally cultured microbiomes. 
  • New Food Innovation are a co-ideator representing AB Mauri and have jointed demonstrated that pulse germination with Lactobacillus planetarium can mitigate pulse off tastes. NFI will identify exploitation and protection strategies for identified organisms/QTL in partnership with AB Mauri.

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

Funding details: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.

 Apply online here by noon on Tuesday 17th January 2023.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466946