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Research interests

My lab researches both the molecular genetics of higher plant reproduction, particularly seed development, and algal biotechnology.

Seeds and Reproduction

Seeds are the most important agricultural product, accounting for at least 70% of the world’s food supply (either directly or as animal feed). With rising population and diminishing agricultural land, it is increasingly urgent to improve crop yields. Increasing seed size and number in seed crop species are important routes to achieving this goal. Our fundamental insights are identifying genes that regulate these traits, building these into biotechnological approaches to deliver increased yield.

Novel plant glycoside hydrolases for bioethanol production

Successful plant reproduction is essential for food production. The stationary lifestyle of plants means that mobile pollen is vital for fertilisation. Since plant cells are usually firmly fused together in tissues, pollen production requires radical modification of normal cell division. This is achieved by replacing cellulose with callose as the cell wall material laid-down after meiosis forms the young pollen grains. Enzymes produced by the surrounding anther tissues then dissolve the callose, releasing the pollen. We are identifing the genes encoding these enzymes for evaluation in the creation of auto-digesting transgenic plants for bioethanol production.

Algae biotechnology

Single-celled, or microalgae, are a diverse group of species with many potential commercial applications including the production of biofuels, pigments, protein for animal feed and industrial feedstocks. Their large-scale culture could also help capture harmful CO2 to combat climate change and to clean wastewater reducing environmental damage from sewage treatment.

Before algae can realize this potential a number of technical challenges must be overcome to bring down the cost of production to levels competitive with existing and well-established alternatives. These include thermo-tolerance, increased photosynthetic efficiency and reduced harvesting and product recovery costs. Several research projects in the lab focus on addressing these challenges.

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Projects 2005 2021

Brassica Rapeseed and Vegetable Optimisation

Scott, R.


Project: Research council

cole crops
chelating agents
skin (animal)

Open Access Award - 2013

Scott, R.


Project: UK charity

Research Output 2000 2018

3 Citations
Open Access
Phenylethyl Alcohol

The additive free microwave hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass for fermentation to high value products

Fan, J., Santomauro, F., Budarin, V. L., Whiffin, F., Abeln, F., Chantasuban, T., Gore-Lloyd, D., Henk, D., Scott, R. J., Clark, J. & Chuck, C. J., 10 Oct 2018, In : Journal of Cleaner Production. 198, p. 776-784 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bioprospecting for Extremophile Oleaginous Yeasts

Abd Ghaffar, N. R., 28 Apr 2017, 174 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Open Access
palm oils
Metschnikowia pulcherrima

Microalgae for Wastewater Treatment and Biomass Production from Bioprospecting to Biotechnology

Sweiss, M., 23 Nov 2017, 240 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Open Access
wastewater treatment
biomass production
3 Citations

PCP-B class pollen coat proteins are key regulators of the hydration checkpoint in Arabidopsis thaliana pollen-stigma interactions

Wang, L., Clarke, L. A., Eason, R. J., Parker, C. C., Qi, B., Scott, R. J. & Doughty, J., Jan 2017, In : New Phytologist. 213, 2, p. 764-777

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Capsid Proteins
Arabidopsis thaliana


Assessing the Wine Yeast Metschnikowia pulcherrima for the Production of 2-Phenylethanol

Author: Chantasuban, T., 11 Jan 2017

Supervisor: Chuck, C. (Supervisor) & Scott, R. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Bioprospecting for Extremophile Oleaginous Yeasts

Author: Abd Ghaffar, N. R., 1 Apr 2017

Supervisor: Chuck, C. (Supervisor) & Scott, R. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Determinants of seed size and yield in Arabidopsis thaliana

Author: Hughes, R., 1 Jul 2009

Supervisor: Scott, R. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Diverse Roles of Protein S-acyl Transferases in Arabidopsis thaliana

Author: Li, Y., 26 Apr 2017

Supervisor: Scott, R. (Supervisor), Qi, B. (Supervisor) & Doughty, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD