Training a New generation of Researchers in Offshore Seaweed Aquaculture to Produce High-value Chemicals - SeaChem

We are not accepting applications for this position at the moment. A candidates is selected for this position, pending employment formalities.

Project Title: Enzymatic fractionation for the recovery of valuable compounds from red and green seaweed species  (WP3)

Host Institution: KU Leuven

Country: Belgium

Supervisor: Prof. Lise Appels (PhD promoter, KU Leuven)

Objectives: To develop an enzymatic methodology under very mild conditions to efficiently extract polysaccharides from green and red seaweed species.

DC8 will employ enzymes or enzyme cocktails which are commercially obtained and enzymes extracted from e.g., specific thermophilic bacteria that are known to fractionate complex structures such as lignocellulose and holocellulose materials. DC8 will investigate these enzymes for their potential to obtain the fractionated polysaccharides. DC8 will investigate the use of commercial enzyme cocktails and enzymes obtained from dedicated bacteria for the extraction of selective polysaccharides from different types of seaweeds. DC8 will investigate the potential of enzymatic extraction for the valorization of the residual stream obtained from DC7 for the recovery of non-polysaccharide compounds (e.g., pigments and proteins). DC8 will determine the impact on process performance of the use of co-solvents for a higher extraction yield. Through application of different enzymes, DC8 will develop a selective extraction of chemical compounds from the seaweed.  DC8 will analyze the recovery of chemical compounds using different enzymes in a bioreactor containing crushed seaweed, and will evaluate the extracted fractions in both soluble and residual insoluble fraction in the pellet.

Expected Results: A selective enzymatic fractionation process for the valorisation of red and green seaweed species.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): KU Leuven, Arenberg Doctoral School of Science, Engineering and Technology

Planned secondments:

Host: ISS, Supervisor: Catarina Guedes, Timing: M12-16, Length: 4 months, Purpose: to gain practical insight regarding the implementation of seaweed derived products in the consumer market.

Host: INAGRO, Supervisor: Jan Leenknegt, Timing: M30-32, Length: 3 months, Purpose: training on the cutting-edge fermentation technologies for side streams obtained after the cascaded seaweed valorization

Candidate requirements: 

  • You hold a master’s degree in chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, bioscience engineering or a related field and you thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment.
  • You have a solid knowledge of enzymatic conversion and separation processes.
  • You are ambitious, well organized and have excellent communication skills.
  • You speak and write fluent English and have the ability to work effectively and collaboratively.
  • You are an enthusiastic and motivated person, ready to participate in personal training, international travel and public awareness activities.
  • You have demonstrated your commitment to high quality research.


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