Isolation and Purification of glycomacropeptide (GMP) from whey on industrial scale for its use as a bioactive compound to improve human health (PhD Scholarship)

Isolation and Purification of glycomacropeptide (GMP) from whey on industrial scale for its use as a bioactive compound to improve human health.

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Project ID: VOLAC08
Annual Stipend: £14,300 p.a.
Application Deadline: 31st May 2018

Project Team:

Dr Ian Ashton (Academic Lead Supervisor)
Dr Anita Setarehnejad (Academic Supervisor)
Dr Ara Kanekanian (Academic Supervisor)
Dr Phil Evans (Lead Company Supervisor)
Dr Lee Hartley (Company Supervisor)

Project Outline:

Whey protein is an important and valuable source of high quality protein and bioactive compounds. Whey protein concentrates and isolates have been in the market for some time and used, especially by athletes, to aid as a nutritional supplement for muscle growth and recovery. Whey protein is also rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAA) which are important for improving protein synthesis especially for patients with liver failure.

GMP is an important (64 amino acids peptide) constituent in whey.  Published work indicates GMP’s nutritional and bioactivity potential for improving metabolism, neutralising bacterial and viral enterotoxins and for enhancing the immune system. In addition, the absence of the aromatic amino acid, phenylalanine (PA) means that it can be used for patients with the metabolic disorder phenylketoneuria (PKU). Other reported health benefits include the stimulation of fat and protein digestion and it’s bifidogenic effect, encouraging the growth of probiotics, with associated immunological health benefits.

The main emphasis of this project is to isolate and purify GMP for these well-recognised health benefits.

Our research has previously isolated and used GMP for its potential as a mineral binding peptide to minimise dental erosion. The main aim of this project is to further isolate GMP from whey using chromatographic techniques, namely ion exchange chromatography, in combination with other purification methods which will include ultrafiltration techniques. This will produce specific purified peptide fractions which will be characterised and used to assess their potential as supplements and as active ingredients in food formulations. We envisage that this project will lead to the development of innovative, scalable technologies and products for both the ingredients and consumer markets.

The project will provide the successful candidate with an exciting opportunity to work across academia and industry. The project supervisory team will be comprised of academic members of staff from Cardiff Metropolitan University department of Healthcare and Food, part of the School of Sport & Health Sciences, industrial supervisors from Volac International Ltd and external experts. The student will carry out research and development at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Llandaff campus and at Volac International, Port Talbot, where they will use and develop skills in a number of biotechnological, process technology and protein analysis techniques as well as developing communications and project management skills.

Application Deadline:   31st May 2018   


Proposed work as detailed below:

WP1: Complete literature review of current state of the art;

WP2: Complete project planning and critical path;

WP3: Initiate lab scale studies to optimise fractionation;

WP4: Select fraction(s) of interest and develop enriched products;

WP5: Carry out pilot scale feasibility studies.

The research project would suit someone with a BSc (hons) (minimum 2:1) or MSc in Food Science & Technology, Biotechnology, Biochemistry or related discipline.

The scholarship offers all eligible participants (student):

  • KESS PhD Scholarship holders do not pay fees;
  • A monthly stipend in line with RCUK rates: 3 years of funding @ £14,300 per year for PhD
  • An additional budget to support your research of £3,000 for travel, conference attendance, minor equipment, consumables and training
  • An opportunity to access a suite of higher level skills training & attendance at a residential KESS Grad School
  • A minimum of 30 days a year working with the company partner on their allocated project
  • Students must complete & submit their thesis within 3.5 years for PhD
  • All participants must complete the KESS Postgraduate Skills Development Award

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants should have UK or EU Citizenship, and be resident in the convergence area of Wales on appointment (or be studying in or working in the convergence area immediately prior to starting the project), and should have the right to work in the region on qualification. Residence confirmed by providing documents such as driver’s licence, tenancy agreement or recent statement from bank or building society.

The map for the eligible can be​ found here​.  NB: The map also illustrates other assisted areas in the UK, however only the West Wales and the Valleys (in blue/grey:  noted as ‘a’ areas) is eligible in this project.

To obtain an application form (Participant Application Form) and for further information regarding KESS2 at Cardiff Metropolitan, Please click here

To apply, please submit completed application form to Dr Ian Ashton to Email:

For Informal enquiries please contact Dr Ian Ashton tel. 029 20416448; Email:

Interviews for this post will take place within the first two weeks of June, with a proposed commencement date to be agreed.

Funding Notes:

Supported by Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships 2 (KESS 2) which is an All Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.