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PhD for project LiFeTracer

We are looking for a PhD candidate for the project "Lignin as intrinsic Tracer for gastrointestinal transit behavior and Feed digestion (LiFeTracer)". The …

10 maanden geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


We are looking for a PhD candidate for the project "Lignin as intrinsic Tracer for gastrointestinal transit behavior and Feed digestion (LiFeTracer)". The selected candidate will be part of a larger (TTW-NWO) project, working with another PhD student and researchers from the Animal Nutrition group of the Wageningen University & Research, in collaboration with various related companies. The aim of LiFeTracer is to set-up methodology to use lignin or a recalcitrant lignin-fraction, intrinsically present in the feed, as tracer in digestion studies, via 1. Quantitative and qualitative lignin analysis in feed and digesta; 2. Validate that lignin does not disappear nor change during passage through the intestinal tract; 3. Set-up implementation in large-scale animal nutrition studies via high-throughput NIR analysis, feasible for lignin, but impossible for current tracers used.

Metal oxides such as titanium dioxide, are commonly used as inert tracer to evaluate digesta transit and digestibility, but do not well represent fiber-rich diets in monogastric animals. Nevertheless, fiber-rich co-products increase in animal nutrition as a result of our circular economy, and future protein demand asks for selection of fiber-compatible animal genotypes. Hereto, digestibility mapping in large-scale field studies are key, but currently impossible with common tracers (metal oxides).

The Food Chemistry PhD candidate will set-up and optimize lignin analysis taking into account feed and digesta matrix effects and taking into account presence of conventional markers. In addition, 13C-/12C-lignin will be isolated and identified from grain pericarp/seeds. The content and structure of lignin in digesta of three tract segments will be determined of three animal trials. Both analytical pyrolysis-GC-MS and 2D-NMR methodology will be carried out by the PhD-student. Eventually, lignin as marker should be made possible via NIR analyses, which is a concerted action of all researchers and companies in this project.


For this challenging position we are looking for a candidate with the following qualifications:

  • MSc in the field of biological chemistry or lignin chemistry, with strong affinity for lignocellulose degradation;
  • intrinsic interest to independently search for answers on fundamental and applied research questions;
  • experience with GC-MS and NMR is a benefit;
  • excellent research skills;
  • ability to work in a multi-disciplinary project;
  • excellent communication skills.
The selected PhD fellow should have passed for an English proficiency test (e.g. TOEFLL or IELTS) or have an approved English MSc degree.


We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2325,-. in the first year rising up to € 2972,- per month in the fourth year, based on a full-time appointment.

In addition, we offer:
  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact dr. Mirjam Kabel, Food Chemistry (mirjam.kabel@wur.nl; tel.: +31 317 483209). For more information about the procedure, please contact Greetje van de Hulsbeek, HR Advisor, e-mail: greetje.vandehulsbeek@wur.nl.

This vacancy is open until 21 January 2020. You can apply online at: https://www.wur.nl/en/Jobs/Vacancies.htm