The Centre for Animal Nutrition is looking for two PhD scholars who have or will be granted a scholarship to study towards a PhD degree in the Netherlands. Recently, the Animal Nutrition group at Wageningen University has secured funding to study the degradation of lignin by fungi. Two projects are available in the near future requiring two highly motivated scholars with the prerequisites to study at Wageningen University and having been granted (or to be granted) a scholarship.
Lignin cannot be broken down in an anaerobic fermentation system, such as the rumen. Fungi, however, are capable of degrading the complex lignin structures present in biomass such as straw, bagasse and oil palm fronds, thereby, making the (hemi)cellulose available to bacteria. Fungi preferentially produce enzymes directed to degrade or modify lignin during their vegetative growth and switch the enzyme system towards degradation of (hemi)cellulose during fruiting. By stopping this process before fruiting, the organic substrate after fungi treatment contains less lignin (bonds) and as such microbiota in the rumen can breakdown the cell wall carbohydrates, resulting in a higher feed value and increased synthesis of volatile fatty acids in the rumen.
Two PhD projects for candidates with a scholarship or candidates who are eligible to obtain a scholarship from their home country are available:
- Ensiling of fungal treated biomass and its effects on dairy cattle performance
- Rumen fermentation and health aspects of ensiled fungal treated biomass for dairy cows
For more information, please contact Prof. dr. Wouter Hendriks.