Maximising bromoform production in Asparagopsis taxiformis for methane reduction in food and feeds

Mitigation of enteric methane emissions in livestock has primarily focussed on three areas: animal nutrition, genetics, and management (Hristov et al. 2013). While at a global scale, improving animal efficiency (i.e. growth, milk production, feed conversion) is arguably the most effective methane mitigation strategy (Vijn et al. 2020), nutritional approaches have been widely trialled and show reductions by over 80 percent (Roque et al 2021). Both brown (Phaeophycae) and red (Rhodophycae) seaweeds have been incorporated into diets (Gerber et al., 2013; Machado et al., 2015; Øverland et al., 2019; Abbott et al., 2020), but the Rhodophyte Asparagopsis, especially A. taxiformis, seems to hold the most promise (Kinley et al., 2015, 2016, 2020; Roque et al., 2019, 2021; Vijn et al. 2020).

The main objective of this studentship is optimised yield of individual A taxiformis components as well as optimised overall productivity of cultivation and processing. Leading to a business case for on-land cultivation (also utilising other ecosystem services than seaweed biomass yields). This is a relatively new species that is now undergoing domestication and the studentship will examine the key considerations in order to achieve this, including:

(i) the impact cultivation has on the quantity and quality of biomass (e.g. media formulation, salinity, light and temperature regime using CT rooms, Algem® environmental modelling PBR’s and ARIES PBRs, /HPLC/GC-MS);

(ii) stability and sustainability of the cultivation system including the role the seaweed’s own microbiome has in this;

(iii) maximising the use of the biomass, the bromoforms can be extracted from wet biomass in vegetable oil leaving other potentially interesting compounds (eg. phycoerythrin) which have their own markets;

(iv) developing an integrated downstream process compatible with the valorisation of the largest number of valuable co-products for various applications, this would improve the economic and environmental sustainability of production by targeting and valorising of the whole biomass.

This a four-year icase studentship funded through IBioIC and SAMS Enterprise. Potentially candidates should have an interest in seaweeds and experience of culturing and analytical methods would be advantage.

SAMS is home to the NERC National Capability- Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP). This collection houses over 3,000 strains of algae and protozoa which originate from a diverse range of ecological niches that are potentially suitable for treating a variety of industrial effluents. The proposed scholarship would have access to this culture collection, as well as cultivation and analytical facilities available at SAMS. In addition, the SAMS based supervisory team has a long and established track-record of algal cultivation, bioremediation, biofuels and biotechnology arising from recent large-scale European funded projects (e.g. ABACUS, BioMara, Macrofuels).

SAMS Enterprise (SE), established in 2002, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), enabling clients to understand and mitigate the risks involved in industry interaction with the marine environment; to maximise productivity and sustainability. SE is commercially active in the farming of seaweed and supporting this developing industry through the supply of seeded line from the newly refurbished commercial seaweed nursery and training the industry through the Seaweed Academy, which is being established through the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund.

For further information

Please contact Professor Michele Stanley for further information (

Closing date for applications: Mondayday 13th June (17:00) 2022 (see ‘How to Apply’ tab for details)
Interview date: Thursday 23rd June 2022
Studentship starts: 1st October 2022


This four-year, fully funded icase PhD studentship is funded by IBioIC and SAMS Enterprise and follows UKRI funding guidance. To qualify for home fees status, applicants must be either a UK National (meeting residency requirements) or meet the requirements of the EU Settlement Scheme and have either settled status, pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements) or indefinite leave to remain or enter. The studentship covers home fees, a maintenance stipend and a research training grant.

All other International applicants will be required to cover the difference between home fees and international fees. Annual tuition fees are subject to revision and typically increase between 1.5-3% per annum.

The documents you need to apply for the PhD studentship: Maximising bromoform production in Asparagopsis taxiformsis for methane reduction in food and feeds.

1a - PhD-Studentships-2021-22-Application-guidance_SAMS.pdf

PhD Studentship Application PART 1 1.0 2021-22_MS_2

Applicant Reference Request Form _22_MS .docx

Please ensure you submit the application form – with the following supporting documentation – as one single pdf file – to SAMS Graduate School by email to:

A current CV