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The microbiome of the bovine rumen; modification of rumen function using bio-char

Study level

PhD

Master of Philosophy

Faculty/Lead unit

Science and Engineering Faculty

Science and Engineering Faculty

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Supervisors

Dr Kevin Dudley
Position
Research Officer (Genomics)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Mark Harrison
Position
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr Zhanying Zhang
Position
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty

External supervisors

  • Dr Karen Harper, UQ

Overview

Biochar is a high-carbon solid residue that is produced from the direct thermal decomposition of lignocellulosic biomass. Biochar can be used to improve the productivity of soils but has also been shown to reduce the production of methane during rumination in cattle and other livestock. As a result, bio-char has widespread potential as a tool to reduce the contribution of animal production to total greenhouse gas emissions.

Research activities

The project will involve:

  1. Preparation and characterisation of bio-char from lignocellulosic biomass
  2. Analysis of the effect of bio-char on the rumen microbiome
  3. Analysis of the effect of bio-char on the digestion of fodder in the rumen

The student will work with a team of researchers, research assistants, and post-graduate students currently engaged in a Catapult project funded by the Institute for Future Environments in this general research area.

Outcomes

The project aims to understand the relationship between the physical and chemical properties of biochar and the effect of addition of that biochar on the rumen microbiome.

Skills and experience

Students with experience in one or more of the following research areas are encouraged to apply:

  • biomass chemistry
  • pyrolysis
  • activated carbon chemistry
  • rumen microbiology

Scholarships

You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round

Keywords

Contact

Please contact Dr Mark Harrison for more information.