PhD scholarship – conversion of fibers to protein for meat alternatives

onsdag 08 jul 20

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Frist 16. august 2020
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The PhD project will be a part of a large project comprising of both academic and industry partners  covering the whole value chain from academia to start ups and large enterprises. The PhD will be conducted at DTU National Food Institute (DTU Food) in the research group of Microbial Biotechnology and Biorefining. Additionally, an external stay will be included in the project.  

The research group Microbial Biotechnology and Biorefining is divided into several focus areas working with dairy, brewing industry, fermented plant products as well as metabolic engineering.

One of the major trends in the future is the production of vegan alternatives to meat and proteins derived from animal origin. The PhD is in line with Institute’s strategy concerning solutions to reduce the carbon footprint and provide sustainable food production where plant fermentation may provide improved health benefits, longer shelf life and safer products.

The project will be produce protein rich meat alternatives by converting the side-streams (Brewers Spent grains and sugar beet pulp) into food grade protein by fermentation using lactic acid bacteria and fungi. The PhD aims to obtain new knowledge on pre- and post-treatment of the two side-streams. The PhD will investigate how lactic acid bacteria influence the stability and flavor production of the side-streams after pre- and post-treatment fermentation. The PhD project supervisor will be senior scientist Claus Heiner Bang-Berthelsen.

Responsibilities and tasks
In this project, you will be responsible for the screening of our strain collection of more than 1000 microbial strains. Candidate strains will be characterized based on various parameters. Both in terms of safety and fermentation capabilities. The following investigations will be in the pipeline:

  • Transcriptomic
  • Sugar utilization
  • Pathogenicity
  • Biotic and abiotic tolerances
  • Metabolomics
  • Flavor production
  • Acidification
  • Genomics
  • Pathogen inhibition

Additionally, the candidate will be involved in the teaching and education as well as other activities such as general maintaining the laboratory, equipment as well as the strain collection. 

We are looking for a candidate with a solid background in two or more of the following areas:

  • Biobanking
  • MALDI TOF biotyper
  • Lactic acid bacterial biology
  • Work with DNA and RNA analysis 
  • Experience with Genomics, transcriptomics
  • Phenotype screening of lactic acid bacteria
  • Enzyme assays, colorimetry assays
  • HPLC
  • Microscopy

We expect that you are an efficient team worker, have good communication skills, and have a critical approach to the formulation and testing of hypotheses. In addition, we appreciate a good sense of humor. Written and spoken Danish and English is a prerequisite as there is teaching obligations during the project.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. We additionally are looking for at for a candidate with a strong background within lactic acid bacterial biology as well as good understanding of plant microbiome and plant ecology. A candidate with some experience from industry will be preferred. The candidate may have studied a MSc program in microbiology, biotechnology, plant biology, food science.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in the DTU food PhD school. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Senior scientist Claus Heiner Bang-Berthelsen, DTU Food

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

 You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from senior scientist Claus Heiner Bang-Berthelsen, DTU Food, tel.: +45 2986 6900 or email

You can read more about DTU food” at www.fø  and about the microbial biotechnology and biorefining

Please submit your online application no later than 16 August 2020 (23:59 local time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Publication list
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The National Food Institute (DTU Food) works within six technical focus areas: Biotechnology, nutrition, food quality, food safety, food technology and environment & human health. Activities cover a wide range of food products throughout the entire food chain from farm to table, comprising both research activities and research-based consulting and teaching. Read more at

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