How does dietary phytase improve animal nutrition?


This is a collaborative program of hypothesis-driven research between UK industry, AB Vista, a division of AB Agri, and the UEA. The project falls in the BBSRC Priority Area of Sustainable Agriculture and will provide explanation of how the industry’s recombinant phytases (inositol hexakisphosphate phosphatases) improve agricultural efficiency.

Our laboratory in the School of Biological Sciences at UEA has expertise in phytate (inositol hexakisphosphate) and phytase biology, structural biology and enzymology. You will learn skills in enzymology, analytical science (HPLC and Mass Spectrometry) and a perspective on animal nutrition that has direct relevance to industry needs. You will enjoy placement(s) with our industrial partner according to your developing interests.

Your research extends substantial programs of research funded since 2012 at UEA. You will have the opportunity to join our industrial partners at international conferences where your work will be presented. You will join a dynamic and well-funded group with training provided at UEA by Prof Charles Brearley and Professor Hemmings and UEA’s SCI Faculty Analytical Facility. We are able to provide an exciting and demanding project to a suitably qualified individual with a strong interest in enzymology and/or bioanalytical science.

You will hold, or expect to hold, a first or good upper second class honours undergraduate degree (or equivalent) from any of a range of disciplines including, but not restricted to biochemistry, biological chemistry and biological sciences.


Phytase dose-dependent response of kidney inositol phosphate levels in poultry. (2022) C Sprigg, H Whitfield, E Burton, D Scholey, MR Bedford, CA Brearley Plos One 17 (10), e0275742.

Effect of phytase supplementation on plasma and organ myo-inositol content and erythrocyte inositol phosphates as pertaining to breast meat quality issues in chickens. (2022) H Whitfield, C Laurendon, SJ Rochell, S Dridi, SA Lee, T Dale, T York. Journal of Applied Animal Nutrition 10 (2), 45-57.

Manipulation of plasma myo-inositol in broiler chickens: effect on growth performance, dietary energy, nutrient availability, and hepatic function. (2019) V Pirgozliev, CA Brearley, SP Rose, SC Mansbridge. Poultry science 98 (1), 260-268.

Effect of phytase on intestinal phytate breakdown, plasma inositol concentrations, and glucose transporter type 4 abundance in muscle membranes of weanling pigs. (2019) H Lu, I Kühn, MR Bedford, H Whitfield, C Brearley, O Adeola, KM Ajuwon. Journal of animal science 97 (9), 3907-391.

Quantum blue reduces the severity of woody breast myopathy via modulation of oxygen homeostasis-related genes in broiler chickens. (2019) E Greene, J Flees, S Dadgar, B Mallmann, S Orlowski, A Dhamad, S Rochell, M Kidd, C Laurendon, H Whitfield, C Brearley, N Rajaram, C Walk, S Dridi. Frontiers in Physiology 10, 1251.