• The ultra-rapid chilling of lamb carcasses

      McGeehin, Brian; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 1999-01)
      The practice in Irish commercial abattoirs is to chill lamb carcasses for a period of approximately 16 hours at 2 - 4°C, at which stage the core temperature of the carcass has reached 7°C. Chilling in this manner is considered necessary because it is generally held that faster chilling leads to toughening of the meat. The objective of this work was to develop a continuous ultra-rapid chilling system for lambs which would reduce carcass chilling time without adversely affecting the quality of the meat.
    • Understanding and using somatic cell counts to improve milk quality

      Ruegg, P.L.; Pantoja, J.C.F. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2013)
      The production of high quality milk is a requirement to sustain a profitable dairy industry and somatic cell count (SCC) values are routinely used to identify subclinical mastitis and define quality standards. The objective of this paper is to review the use of SCC as a diagnostic tool for subclinical mastitis in order to improve milk quality on dairy farms. Mastitis is detected based on inflammation subsequent to intramammary infection (IMI) by pathogenic organisms. Individual cow SCC values are used to detect the inflammation that results from IMI and are necessary to define the prevalence and incidence of subclinical IMI. A threshold of <200,000 cells/mL is considered to be of the most practical value used to define a mammary quarter as healthy. The development of IMI is the most significant factor that influences milk SCC and assessment of monthly values to determine newly and chronically increased SCC can be highly diagnostic for resolving problems with increased bulk tank SCC. Methods to reduce the development of new IMI are well known and adoption of best management practices for milking and herd management have consistently been shown to result in reductions in bulk tank SCC. Implementation of mastitis control programmes can be improved by focusing on three practical recommendations: 1) Farmers should work with their advisors to develop an annual udder health plan that includes clear goals for milk quality. 2) The annual udder health plan should emphasise prevention of new IMI. 3) Farmers must identify and manage chronically infected cows. Proactive management of IMI can be extremely effective in helping farmers produce milk that meets industry standards for milk quality.
    • Universally Distributed Single-Copy Genes Indicate a Constant Rate of Horizontal Transfer

      Creevey, Christopher J.; Doerks, Tobias; Fitzpatrick, David A.; Raes, Jeroen; Bork, Peer (PLOS, 2011-08-05)
      Single copy genes, universally distributed across the three domains of life and encoding mostly ancient parts of the translation machinery, are thought to be only rarely subjected to horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Indeed it has been proposed to have occurred in only a few genes and implies a rare, probably not advantageous event in which an ortholog displaces the original gene and has to function in a foreign context (orthologous gene displacement, OGD). Here, we have utilised an automatic method to identify HGT based on a conservative statistical approach capable of robustly assigning both donors and acceptors. Applied to 40 universally single copy genes we found that as many as 68 HGTs (implying OGDs) have occurred in these genes with a rate of 1.7 per family since the last universal common ancestor (LUCA). We examined a number of factors that have been claimed to be fundamental to HGT in general and tested their validity in the subset of universally distributed single copy genes. We found that differing functional constraints impact rates of OGD and the more evolutionarily distant the donor and acceptor, the less likely an OGD is to occur. Furthermore, species with larger genomes are more likely to be subjected to OGD. Most importantly, regardless of the trends above, the number of OGDs increases linearly with time, indicating a neutral, constant rate. This suggests that levels of HGT above this rate may be indicative of positively selected transfers that may allow niche adaptation or bestow other benefits to the recipient organism.
    • Unsaturated zone travel time to groundwater on a vulnerable site

      Richards, Karl G.; Coxon, Catherine E.; Ryan, Michael (Taylor & Francis, 2005)
      A bromide (Br) tracing experiment was conducted to ascertain unsaturated zone travel time to groundwater on a site with a karstified limestone aquifer overlain by a thin free-draining overburden. Br tracer was applied to areas surrounding two boreholes; soil solution and groundwater Br concentrations were monitored. Bromide was first detected after eight and 34 days in the soil solution and groundwater. The quick break-through of the applied Br in the soil solution and groundwater indicates the presence of preferential flow in the soil at this site. The time to maximum groundwater Br concentration supports a dominant matrix flow path through the overburden and then preferential flow through the unsaturated limestone bedrock. The results indicated that the transport of conservative contaminants, such as nitrate, can be expected to occur in a single recharge season. The occurrence of preferential flow raises concerns over rapid transport of non-conservative contaminants such as faecal coliforms and this merits further investigation.
    • Up-grading of low value meats and by-products for use in consumer foods

      Kenny, Tony; Desmond, Eoin; Ward, Patrick (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      Animal offals can be divided into (1) edible offals and by-products including fats, blood, and low-grade trimmings such as poultry skin and pork hock meat; (2) extracts from edible offals for use as ingredients in food products; (3) inedible offals; (4) hides and skins; (5) raw materials for extraction of pharmaceuticals or chemicals; (6) raw materials for sundry by-products.
    • Up-grading of low value meats and by-products for use in consumer foods.

      Kenny, Tony; Desmond, Eoin; Ward, Patrick (Teagasc, 1999-02-01)
      The investigation was concerned with the up-grading of: (i) connective tissue material in the form of beef membrane, pig rind and turkey skin; (ii) muscle material from low-value cuts and from offals such as beef heart; (iii) heart muscle, by extrusion processing; (i) An emulsified material from beef membrane and beef replaced up to 5% of lean meat in corn beef and up to 10% in beefburgers without impairing cooked yield and eating quality. A collagen emulsion paste (CEP) from pig rind replaced up to 5% of lean meat in ham prepared from diced meat, and between 2 and 5% in ham prepared from whole muscles without reduction in cooked yield, texture, appearance and eating quality. Turkey skin was minced, chopped and incorporated at 10, 15 and 20% levels in a mix with turkey leg meat, which was used to make battered and breaded re-formed steaklets. Steaks containing up to 20% of emulsified skin were similar to control samples in flavour, juiciness and overall acceptability. An antioxidant may be required to prevent rancidity during frozen storage. (ii) Yields of surimi-like material, prepared by water-extraction, sieving and centrifuging, were 16% from lean of topside of beef (used as control for comparison), 39% from beef heart, 17% from pork mechanically recovered meat, 11% from beef weasand and less than 5% from beef cheek meat. The beef heart surimi was studied for its gelation properties and for its performance as an ingredient replacing lean meat in frankfurters and in beefburgers at levels between 3 and 15%. In frankfurters the addition of the surimi reduced cook loss and increased tenderness. For overall eating quality the frankfurters with 7 or 10% of surimi were preferable, and those with 15% equal, to those with none. In beefburgers cook loss was decreased from 32 to 25% by the addition of 15% surimi. Other results were similar to those for frankfurters, showing that the surimi could be added at 10 to 15% level without impairing texture or flavour. (iii) Cold extrusion processing of beef heart muscle with the aim of increasing its functionality showed that gelation properties of the material were not improved by extrusion compared to bowl chopping; moreover, the extruded product had a strong odour and dark colour.
    • Update on the development of a novel dry cow therapy using a bismuth-based intramammary teat seal in combination with the bacteriocin lacticin 3147

      Crispie, Fiona; Flynn, James; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Meaney, William J (Biomed Central, 2004-11-01)
      Public concerns over the widespread prophylactic use of antibiotics have led to a search for alternatives to dry cow therapy for the prevention of intramammary infections. A popular alternative is to infuse a teat seal at drying-off. The teat seal is a viscous non-antibiotic formulation and when it is infused into the teat canal and the teat sinus it forms an internal seal that provides a physical barrier to invasion by mastitis-causing pathogens. Enhancement of teat seal formulations may be achieved using non-antibiotic additives such as bacteriocins, potent proteins produced by some bacteria that have the ability to kill other microorganisms. This paper traces the history of investigations at Moorepark Research Centre into the efficacy of teat seal plus lacticin 3147, a bacteriocin produced by Lactococcus lactis DPC3147, in the prevention of intramammary infections in dry cows. Indications from on-going investigations are that a dry cow formulation combining the two products has considerable potential as a non-antibiotic prophylactic product.
    • Upgrading the cold chain for consumer food products

      Gormley, Ronan T.; Brennan, Martine H.; Butler, Francis (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      The prepared consumer foods sector in Ireland is undergoing sustained dynamic growth. Products that are distributed chilled or frozen require a cold chain and there is potential to increase product quality by optimising the cold chain. This potential prompted the current study.
    • Urine patch distribution under dairy grazing at three stocking rates in Ireland

      Dennis, S.J.; Moir, J.L.; Cameron, K.C.; Di, H.J.; Hennessy, D.; Richards, Karl G. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2011)
      Nitrate pollution of water is a serious global environmental issue. Grassland agriculture is a major source of diffuse nitrate pollution, with much of this nitrate originating from the urine patches of grazing animals. To study nitrate losses from grassland it is necessary to consider the areas of grassland that are affected by urine separately from the remainder of the pasture. Urine patches can be observed in the field as areas of vigorously growing pasture, however the pasture may continue to respond for several months, making it difficult to determine when the observed patch was actually deposited. A global positioning system was used to record the location of all urine and dung patches in a pasture at every second grazing on an Irish dairy farm during the grazing season. Any patches reappearing were removed from the data, allowing the fresh urine patches to be identified. Dairy cows deposited 0.359 urine patches per grazing hour, a value that may be used to predict the distribution of urine patches under any grazing regime. This equated to 14.1 to 20.7% of the soil surface being wet by urine annually at stocking rates of 2.0 to 2.94 cows per hectare, consistent with previous research. These values may be used in conjunction with values for nitrate loss from urine and non-urine areas to calculate nitrate losses from grazed pasture at a range of stocking rates.
    • The use of air induction nozzles for herbicide application to sugar beet.

      Rice, B.; Mitchell, B.J.; Leonard, R. (Teagasc, 2002-08-01)
      Trials were carried out over a three-year period in Oak Park to compare airinduction with conventional nozzles for weed control in sugar beet. Two makes of low-drift nozzle (Bubble Jet and DriftBETA) were compared with conventional fans. All nozzles were used at a pressure of 3 bar. Two sizes (015 and 03) of each type of nozzle were used, to allow volumes of 110 and 220 litres per hectare to be applied. These nozzles were used to apply two-spray programmes to sugar-beet crops. In four of the weed control trials, tank mixes of products with some residual action (Progress, Goltix, Venzar and Debut) were used. In the other two trials, a contact-only spray (Betanal E) was used. The aim was to see how the nozzles behaved with contact-only sprays as well as those with more complex modes of action. Spray drift was also measured with the size 03 nozzles. Spray drift reductions from 37% to 64% were measured when the air-induction nozzles were compared with conventional fans. In general, the tank mix programme gave better weed control than the contact-only treatments. Within programmes, differences between the application methods were significant in two trials. In both of these, the conventional nozzles gave the best results. Looking at the mean results of the tank-mix trials, two trends were suggested: higher water volumes gave slightly better weed control, and the effect of the coarser sprays was slight. With the contact-only sprays, the decline in performance with the coarser sprays was more emphatic, and the lower volumes appeared to give slightly better control. It is concluded that in calm conditions conventional fan or cone nozzles should continue to be used, but that air-induction nozzles are a valuable fall-back when it is necessary to spray in a moderate breeze. In these situations, and with the normal tank-mix programmes, small nozzle sizes applying very low volumes should be avoided. Makes of air-induction nozzle which give very coarse spray should also be avoided.
    • Use of Bacteriocins to Improve Cheese Quality and Safety

      Ross, R. Paul; Hill, Colin; Ryan, Maire; Cunniffe, Alan; McAuliffe, Olivia; Murray, Deirdre; O'Keefe, Triona; Rea, Mary (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The objectives of this project were to generate, characterise and exploit a range of novel bacteriocin producing starter cultures to improve both the safety and the quality of fermented dairy foods. The main conclusions were as follows: Lacticin 3147 is a broad spectrum bacteriocin which inhibits a wide range of Gram-positive bacteria including lactobacilli, clostridia and Listeria. The bacteriocin has been purified by chromatographic procedures and has been shown to be composed of two peptides, both of which are required for biological activity. The mechanism of action of lacticin 3147 has been elucidated. The entire plasmid encoding lacticin 3147 has been sequenced and the bacteriocin in distinct from any previously characterised lactococcal bacteriocin. The Food Grade introduction of the bacteriocin genes into cheese starters was carried out. Lacticin 3147 producing starters have been used to control the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes on the surface of mould ripened cheese. Lacticin 3147 producing starters have been used to control the non-starter lactic acid bacteria complement in Cheddar cheese during the ripening process. A novel starter system using a bacteriocin (lactococcin)- producing adjunct has been designed which gives increased cell lysis during Cheddar cheese manufacture while ensuring that efficient acid production is not compromised. In summary these studies have found that naturally occurring antimicrobials such as bacteriocins have a wide range of applications in the food industry for improving both the quality and safety of fermented dairy products.
    • The use of Cold Setting Whey Proteins to enhance the Gelation Properties of Foods.

      Keogh, Kieran; O'Kennedy, Brendan; Twomey, Myra (Teagasc, 1999-06-01)
      The main objective of this project was to produce dried, denatured, whey protein-based powders, which on reconstitution in food formulations show an increased ability to bind water in the presence of added salts, especially in the ambient temperature range. To achieve this, a number of secondary objectives were set to observe the behaviour of the whey protein system. These included the effects of salt on increases in viscosity during the heating process, the requirement for pH adjustment during processing and the ability of the pre-treated whey protein to interact with fat. The main conclusions were as follows: * It was shown that, compared to a commercial 75% whey protein concentrate, a preheated whey protein ingredient (cold-setting whey protein) improved the consistency of surimi and a cold-set dessert system. * For cold-setting applications, the whey proteins need to withstand heating without gel formation. For example, as the protein concentration was increased, the salt concentration had to be decreased and pH increased to prevent the initiation of gelling during processing. When the salt concentration was increased, a lower heat treatment was needed to prevent viscosity increase. However, lower heat treatment resulted in a lower degree of protein unfolding and weaker cold-set gels. This example implies that only certain whey sources are suitable starting materials for cold-set applications. * Model oil-in-water emulsions were studied using whey proteins pre-treated at different homogenisation and heating conditions to evaluate the potential of cold-setting whey proteins in yoghurt, mayonnaise and sauces. It was found that with these pretreatments, emulsion viscosity increases were observed at very low whey protein concentration (< 1%), when salt was added after emulsion formation, indicating that cold-set whey proteins are much more effective gelling agents than normal whey protein ingredients. For this reason, they have potential in acidified dairy products such as yoghurt. * Pre-heated whey protein dispersions are also capable of binding and stabilising calcium phosphate. This property can be exploited in the stabilisation of calcium-fortified milkbased beverages. * The commercial production of cold-setting whey protein ingredients will depend on the ability to retain whey protein solubility during processing. A number of mechanisms exist to achieve this but, in all cases, very exact control of the process is required. * Because low salt levels prevent the aggregation and gelling of denatured whey proteins, whey protein isolate is an ideal starting material for the production of these ingredients, but due to the high cost, de-mineralised whey was chosen instead as the starting material. Careful consideration has also to be given to the processing equipment and the economics involved. * The development of whey protein ingredients especially for cold-set end uses is a product specific exercise. General guidelines were developed in the current work, but further work with industry partners will be necessary before commercial success is achieved.
    • The use of near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) for prediction of the nutritive value of barley for growing pigs

      McCann, M.E.E.; McCracken, K.J.; Agnew, R.E. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      There is a need in the feed industry for a rapid means of evaluating the nutritive value of feeds and feed ingredients. Chemical analysis provides only basic information and most of the laboratory techniques take too long for this information to be of use in feed formulation at the feed mill. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) has been proposed as an alternative means of predicting nutritive value. In this study, NIRS was used to predict the digestible energy (DE) concentration and in vitro ileal digestibility of crude protein (CP) and total-tract digestibility of energy of locally produced barley. The calibration and validation statistics were developed using modified partial least squares (MPLS). Derivatisation and scatter correction procedures were carried out to reduce interference from external effects. The correlations between actual and predicted DE values, based on both calibration (R2 0.93) and validation (R2 0.69), were strong with corresponding low standard errors of calibration (SEC) and cross validation (SECV) (SEC 0.128, SECV 0.279). Strong correlations were also observed between predicted and actual in vitro digestibility values for both calibration and validation exercises. It was noted that validation weakened the correlations (R2 0.73 vs. 0.50 for in vitro ileal digestibility of CP and 0.80 vs. 0.68 for in vitro total tract digestibility of energy) and fractionally increased the standard errors (0.016 vs. 0.020 for in vitro ileal digestibility of CP and 0.018 vs. 0.024 for in vitro total tract digestibility of energy). The correlations obtained by cross validation of the lowest SECV equations were not significantly different to those obtained by the scatter correction treatments. The strong relationships and low standard errors obtained between the actual and predicted values indicates that NIRS may be of use in predicting the nutritive value of barley for growing pigs, although more research is required to include larger sample sets.
    • Use of Ochre from an Abandoned Metal Mine in the South East of Ireland for Phosphorus Sequestration from Dairy Dirty Water

      Fenton, Owen; Healy, Mark G.; Rodgers, M. (Soil Science Society of America, 2009-05)
      Ochre found at coal mine drainage sites in the United Kingdom shows a high phosphorus (P) retention capacity with little mobilization of metals. This indicates that ochre has the potential to adsorb P from agricultural wastewaters for possible use as a fertilizer. Little research has focused on the ability of metal mine ochre to sequester P in an environmentally sustainable way. Untreated acid mine drainage from an abandoned coppersulfur mine in the Avoca-Avonmore catchment in the south east of Ireland results in extensive low-value ochre deposition. In this study, P-amended water (50 mL) was mixed with this ochre (2.5 g) in batch experiments, and a maximum P adsorption capacity, calculated from the Langmuir equation, of between 16 and 21 g P kg−1 was calculated. However, mobilization of heavy metals from Avoca ochre in distilled, surface, and dirty water batch experiments was observed. This mobilization may inhibit ochre’s use in P removal from wastewaters.
    • The use of Sulphur as a Fertilizer

      Brogan, J.C.; Murphy, M.D. (An Foras Taluntais, 1979)
    • The use of tensiometers to control the irrigation of nursery stock in containers.

      Keogh, E.; Maher, M.J.; Hunter, A.; Campion, Jerry (Teagasc, 2000-07-01)
      The use of digital tensiometers to control the irrigation of nursery stock in containers was studied over a three year period. Over this time the tensiometers performed satisfactorily and successfully automated the irrigation of the plants. The results indicate the feasibility of using them to control nursery stock irrigation under Irish conditions. An irrigation tension of 50 hPa to trigger an irrigation period resulted in larger plants than those grown under drier regimes with irrigation tensions of 100 and 200 hPa. Measurements of stomatal resistance indicated that the plants in the drier regimes were growing under greater moisture stress. The drier regimes reduced the number of irrigations and also the overall usage of water. They reduced plant size but did not impair plant appearance. It may be possible to use this approach in the future to control plant growth. There was no difference in performance between plants gown with ebb and flood irrigation and those irrigated via overhead spraylines. The ebb and flood system gave a considerable reduction in water use.
    • Using the EU-SILC to model the impact of the economic crisis on inequality

      O'Donoghue, Cathal; Loughrey, Jason; Morrissey, Karyn (Springer Open, 2013-12-23)
      In this paper we attempted to chart the impact of the early part of Ireland’s economic crisis from 2008–2009 on the distribution of income. In order to decompose the impact of changes in different income components, we utilised a microsimulation methodology and the EU-SILC User Database. This simulation based methodology involved the disaggregation of the 6 main benefit variables in the EU-SILC into 17 variables for our tax-benefit model. Validating, our results were positive, giving us confidence in our methodology. We utilised the framework to model changes in the level of income inequality from the period just before the crisis in 2004 to the depth of the worst year of the crisis in 2009. In terms of the impact of the economic crisis, we found that income inequality fell in the early part of the crisis modelled in this paper. Much of this change was due to rising inequality of market incomes, (even when discounting unemployment). This was due to the differential effect of the downturn on different sectors where some sectors such as the construction and public sectors were significantly hit, while the international traded sectors have been relatively immune from the downturn and have seen continued growth. The impact of the tax-benefit system has been to mitigate this upward pressure, with a gradual rise in the redistributive effect of the tax-benefit system driven by an increase in demand on the benefits side and increased progressivity on the tax side. Jel codes H22, H55, C15
    • Using ultrasound to measure beef tenderness and fat content

      Allen, Paul; Dwyer, Catherine; Mullen, Anne Maria; Buckin, Vitaly; Smyth, Cormac; Morrissey, Siobhan (Teagasc, 2001-04)
      A new acoustical technique was developed for the quantitative analysis of the texture and composition of meat and meat products. This new approach exploits the fact that the acoustical velocity and attenuation of waves propagated through meat are affected by its mechanical properties, thus allowing characterisation in terms of its composition and eating quality. The method is based on a new high-resolution ultrasonic resonator. This technique is rapid and uses small samples. Procedures for the acoustical analysis of meat were developed and the results were correlated with taste panel and shear force measurements of meat tenderness.
    • Validation and Improvement of the Beef Production Sub-index in Ireland for Beef Cattle

      Drennan, Michael J; McGee, Mark; Clarke, A. M.; Kenny, D.A.; Evans, R.D.; Berry, Donagh P. (Teagasc, 2009-12-01)
      The objectives of the following study were to: a. Quantify the effect of sire genetic merit for BCI on: 1. feed intake, growth and carcass traits of progeny managed under bull or steer beef production systems. 2. live animal scores, carcass composition and plasma hormone and metabolite concentrations in their progeny. b. Compare the progeny of : 1. Late-maturing beef with dairy breeds and 2. Charolais (CH), Limousin (LM), Simmental (SM) and Belgian Blue (BB) sires bred to beef suckler dams, for feed intake, blood hormones and metabolites, live animal measurements, carcass traits and carcass value in bull and steer production systems.
    • Validation and Improvement of the Beef Production Sub-index in Ireland for Beef Cattle

      Drennan, M.J.; McGee, Michael; Clarke, A.M.; Kenny, David A.; Evans, R.D.; Berry, Donagh P. (Teagasc, 2008-01-01)
      The objectives of the following study were to: a. Quantify the effect of sire genetic merit for BCI on: 1. feed intake, growth and carcass traits of progeny managed under bull or steer beef production systems. 2. live animal scores, carcass composition and plasma hormone and metabolite concentrations in their progeny. b. Compare the progeny of : 1. Late-maturing beef with dairy breeds and 2. Charolais (CH), Limousin (LM), Simmental (SM) and Belgian Blue (BB) sires bred to beef suckler dams, for feed intake, blood hormones and