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Food Processing with Solid State Microwave Technology for Higher Product Quality and Lower Carbon Footprint

FoodBioSystems DTP – a PhD opportunity with Brunel University London and the University of Reading.

Microwaves are well-established as sources of ‘dry’ heat and are very widely used in the home and some industrial applications in the food sector. They are volumetric (i.e. they heat the product interior directly) which leads to higher efficiency and faster heating/baking compared to conventional methods. For this reason, microwave processing can be more suitable for mild processing of food products. Traditional microwaves based on magnetrons, however, suffer from non-uniform heating. Also, crust formation is difficult in commonly baked products such as bread. Emerging solid state microwave technology has the potential to overcome many of the disadvantages of conventional systems through their ability to provide uniform heating and modulate radiation (heating) intensity to satisfy specific product characteristics. To date, very little research and in-depth investigations have been carried out on the performance characteristics of Solid State Microwave Ovens (SSMOs) and evaluation and quantification of their performance over conventional systems.

This 4 year PhD project and the Doctoral Researcher will make significant contributions in this area. The research will involve in-depth experimental, analytical and simulation studies on the processing of food products with state of the art solid-state microwave technology to explore in detail performance characteristics and identify design, operational and control parameters that optimise processing of specific products in terms of final product quality (sensorial, nutritional, structure, texture and appearance) and resource use.

The successful candidates will receive a stipend of £17,285 per year, plus Home tuition fees.

The research will be undertaken within the Centre for Sustainable Energy Use (CSEF) (www.foodenergy.org.uk)  at Brunel University London and the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading (www.reading.ac.uk/food/). Most of the experimental investigations will be performed on a bespoke Solid State Microwave in CSEF.


This project would be suitable for students with a BEng/BSc (2.1 or above) or MSc in Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology, Food Science/Technology or any related discipline. A lower degree class may also be considered for applicants with relevant industry experience.

This project is part of the FoodBioSystems BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), it will be funded subject to a competition to identify the strongest applicants. Due to restrictions on the funding, this studentship is only open to UK students and EU students who have lived in the UK for the past three years.

How to apply

For more information on the DTP programme and on-line application, project number FBS2020-52 please visit https://research.reading.ac.uk/foodbiosystems/.


For more information about a PhD opportunity, please contact Prof. Savvas Tassou at savvas.tassou@brunel.ac.uk  or  +44 (0)1895 266865.