• Alternative uses for co-products: Harnessing the potential of valuable compounds from meat processing chains

      Mullen, Anne Maria; Alvarez Garcia, Carlos; Zeugolis, Dimitrios; Henchion, Maeve; O'Neill, Eileen; Drummond, Liana (Elsevier, 2017-05-03)
      Opportunities for exploiting the inherent value of protein-rich meat processing co-products, in the context of increased global demand for protein and for sustainable processing systems, are discussed. While direct consumption maybe the most profitable route for some, this approach is influenced greatly by local and cultural traditions. A more profitable and sustainable approach may be found in recognizing this readily available and under-utilised resource can provide high value components, such as proteins, with targeted high value functionality of relevance to a variety of sectors. Applications in food & beverages, petfood biomedical and nutrition arenas are discussed. Utilization of the raw material in its entirety is a necessary underlying principle in this approach to help maintain minimum waste generation. Understanding consumer attitudes to these products, in particular when used in food or beverage systems, is critical in optimizing commercialization strategies.
    • Comparative Proteomic Profiling of Divergent Phenotypes for Water Holding Capacity across the Post Mortem Ageing Period in Porcine Muscle Exudate

      Di Luca, Alessio; Hamill, Ruth M; Mullen, Anne Maria; Slavov, Nikolai; Giuliano, Elia (PLOS, 2016-03-07)
      Two dimensional Difference Gel Electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) and mass spectrometry were applied to investigate the changes in metabolic proteins that occur over a seven day (day 1, 3 and 7) post mortem ageing period in porcine centrifugal exudate from divergent meat quality phenotypes. The objectives of the research were to enhance our understanding of the phenotype (water holding capacity) and search for biomarkers of this economically significant pork quality attribute. Major changes in protein abundance across nine phenotype-by-time conditions were observed. Proteomic patterns were dominated by post mortem ageing timepoint. Using a machine learning algorithm (l1-regularized logistic regression), a model was derived with the ability to discriminate between high drip and low drip phenotypes using a subset of 25 proteins with an accuracy of 63%. Models discriminating between divergent phenotypes with accuracy of 72% and 73% were also derived comparing respectively, high drip plus intermediate phenotype (considered as one phenotype) versus low drip and comparing low drip plus intermediate phenotype (considered as one phenotype) versus high drip. In all comparisons, the general classes of discriminatory proteins identified include metabolic enzymes, stress response, transport and structural proteins. In this research we have enhanced our understanding of the protein related processes underpinning this phenotype and provided strong data to work toward development of protein biomarkers for water holding capacity.
    • Future Protein Supply and Demand: Strategies and Factors Influencing a Sustainable Equilibrium

      Henchion, Maeve; Hayes, Maria; Mullen, Anne Maria; Fenelon, Mark; Tiwari, Brijesh (MDPI, 2017-07-20)
      A growing global population, combined with factors such as changing socio-demographics, will place increased pressure on the world’s resources to provide not only more but also different types of food. Increased demand for animal-based protein in particular is expected to have a negative environmental impact, generating greenhouse gas emissions, requiring more water and more land. Addressing this “perfect storm” will necessitate more sustainable production of existing sources of protein as well as alternative sources for direct human consumption. This paper outlines some potential demand scenarios and provides an overview of selected existing and novel protein sources in terms of their potential to sustainably deliver protein for the future, considering drivers and challenges relating to nutritional, environmental, and technological and market/consumer domains. It concludes that different factors influence the potential of existing and novel sources. Existing protein sources are primarily hindered by their negative environmental impacts with some concerns around health. However, they offer social and economic benefits, and have a high level of consumer acceptance. Furthermore, recent research emphasizes the role of livestock as part of the solution to greenhouse gas emissions, and indicates that animal-based protein has an important role as part of a sustainable diet and as a contributor to food security. Novel proteins require the development of new value chains, and attention to issues such as production costs, food safety, scalability and consumer acceptance. Furthermore, positive environmental impacts cannot be assumed with novel protein sources and care must be taken to ensure that comparisons between novel and existing protein sources are valid. Greater alignment of political forces, and the involvement of wider stakeholders in a governance role, as well as development/commercialization role, is required to address both sources of protein and ensure food security.
    • Future Protein Supply and Demand: Strategies and Factors Influencing a Sustainable Equilibrium

      Henchion, Maeve; Hayes, Maria; Mullen, Anne Maria; Fenelon, Mark A.; Tiwari, Brijesh (MDPI, 2017-07-20)
      A growing global population, combined with factors such as changing socio-demographics, will place increased pressure on the world’s resources to provide not only more but also different types of food. Increased demand for animal-based protein in particular is expected to have a negative environmental impact, generating greenhouse gas emissions, requiring more water and more land. Addressing this “perfect storm” will necessitate more sustainable production of existing sources of protein as well as alternative sources for direct human consumption. This paper outlines some potential demand scenarios and provides an overview of selected existing and novel protein sources in terms of their potential to sustainably deliver protein for the future, considering drivers and challenges relating to nutritional, environmental, and technological and market/consumer domains. It concludes that different factors influence the potential of existing and novel sources. Existing protein sources are primarily hindered by their negative environmental impacts with some concerns around health. However, they offer social and economic benefits, and have a high level of consumer acceptance. Furthermore, recent research emphasizes the role of livestock as part of the solution to greenhouse gas emissions, and indicates that animal-based protein has an important role as part of a sustainable diet and as a contributor to food security. Novel proteins require the development of new value chains, and attention to issues such as production costs, food safety, scalability and consumer acceptance. Furthermore, positive environmental impacts cannot be assumed with novel protein sources and care must be taken to ensure that comparisons between novel and existing protein sources are valid. Greater alignment of political forces, and the involvement of wider stakeholders in a governance role, as well as development/commercialization role, is required to address both sources of protein and ensure food security
    • High pressure technology in the manufacture of minimally-processed meat products

      Troy, Declan J.; Crehan, Clodagh; Mullen, Anne Maria; Desmond, Eoin (Teagasc, 2001-07)
      High hydrostatic pressure processing was applied to raw minced meat prior to product formulation and the results indicate that with 50 MPa pressure it was possible to reduce the salt in frankfurters from 2.5% to 1.5% without compromising the safety and overall quality. Similarly the phosphate content of frankfurters could be reduced from 0.5% to 0.25% after pressure treatment. Cook loss from the treated frankfurters was significantly reduced indicating a higher yield of product due to the high pressure.
    • Monitoring post mortem changes in porcine muscle through 2-D DIGE proteome analysis of Longissimus muscle exudate

      Di Luca, Alessio; Elia, Giuliano; Mullen, Anne Maria; Hamill, Ruth M (Biomed Central, 2013-03-20)
      Background: Meat quality is a complex trait influenced by a range of factors with post mortem biochemical processes highly influential in defining ultimate quality. High resolution two-dimensional DIfference Gel Electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) and Western blot were applied to study the influence of post mortem meat ageing on the proteome of pork muscle. Exudate collected from the muscle following centrifugation was analysed at three timepoints representing a seven day meat ageing period. Results: The intensity of 136 spots varied significantly (p < 0.05) across this post mortem period and 40 spots were identified using mass spectrometry. The main functional categories represented were metabolic proteins, stress-related proteins, transport and structural proteins. Metabolic and structural proteins were generally observed to increase in abundance post mortem and many likely represent the accumulation of the degradation products of proteolytic enzyme activity. In contrast, stress-related proteins broadly decreased in abundance across the ageing period. Stress response proteins have protective roles in maintaining cellular integrity and a decline in their abundance over time may correlate with a reduction in cellular integrity and the onset of meat ageing. Since cellular conditions alter with muscle ageing, changes in solubility may also contribute to observed abundance profiles. Conclusions: Muscle exudate provided valuable information about the pathways and processes underlying the post mortem ageing period, highlighting the importance of post mortem modification of proteins and their interaction for the development of meat quality traits.
    • New technologies in the manufacture of low fat meat products

      Allen, Paul; Dreeling, Niamh; Desmond, Eoin; Hughes, Eimear; Mullen, Anne Maria; Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      The objective of this project was to provide a sound scientific basis for the development of low fat meat products. The emphasis was placed on identifying the barriers to producing high quality, low fat meat products and providing a knowledge base for manufacturers to overcome these, rather than actually developing new products. Each partner had specific tasks and worked with traditional products of their country. A wide range of products was thereby studied including comminuted, emulsion, cured and dried fermented, so that the results are widely applicable.
    • Predicting the eating quality of meat

      Mullen, Anne Maria; Murray, Brendan; Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      A novel, water soluble protein fragment [1735Da] was isolated from beef striploin and characterised. As soluble components of the proteolytic system are easily extracted from muscle they may be suitable for routine factory analysis. This fragment originated from the important myofibrillar protein, troponin T and may serve as a tenderness indicator.
    • Regulatory polymorphisms in the bovine Ankyrin 1 gene promoter are associated with tenderness and intra-muscular fat content

      Aslan, Ozlem; Sweeney, Torres; Mullen, Anne Maria; Hamill, Ruth M (Biomed Central, 2010-12-15)
      Recent QTL and gene expression studies have highlighted ankyrins as positional and functional candidate genes for meat quality. Our objective was to characterise the promoter region of the bovine ankyrin 1 gene and to test polymorphisms for association with sensory and technological meat quality measures. Results Seven novel promoter SNPs were identified in a 1.11 kb region of the ankyrin 1 promoter in Angus, Charolais and Limousin bulls (n = 15 per breed) as well as 141 crossbred beef animals for which meat quality data was available. Eighteen haplotypes were inferred with significant breed variation in haplotype frequencies. The five most frequent SNPs and the four most frequent haplotypes were subsequently tested for association with sensory and technological measures of meat quality in the crossbred population. SNP1, SNP3 and SNP4 (which were subsequently designated regulatory SNPs) and SNP5 were associated with traits that contribute to sensorial and technological measurements of tenderness and texture; Haplotype 1 and haplotype 4 were oppositely correlated with traits contributing to tenderness (P < 0.05). While no single SNP was associated with intramuscular fat (IMF), a clear association with increased IMF and juiciness was observed for haplotype 2. Conclusion The conclusion from this study is that alleles defining haplotypes 2 and 4 could usefully contribute to marker SNP panels used to select individuals with improved IMF/juiciness or tenderness in a genome-assisted selection framework.
    • SNP variation in the promoter of the PRKAG3 gene and association with meat quality traits in pig

      Ryan, Marion T; Hamill, Ruth M; O’Halloran, Aisling M; Davey, Grace C; McBryan, Jean; Mullen, Anne Maria; McGee, Chris; Gispert, Marina; Southwood, Olwen I; Sweeney, Torres (Biomed Central, 2012-07-25)
      Background: The PRKAG3 gene encodes the γ3 subunit of adenosine monophosphate activated protein kinase (AMPK), a protein that plays a key role in energy metabolism in skeletal muscle. Non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this gene such as I199V are associated with important pork quality traits. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between gene expression of the PRKAG3 gene, SNP variation in the PRKAG3 promoter and meat quality phenotypes in pork. Results: PRKAG3 gene expression was found to correlate with a number of traits relating to glycolytic potential (GP) and intramuscular fat (IMF) in three phenotypically diverse F1 crosses comprising of 31 Large White, 23 Duroc and 32 Pietrain sire breeds. The majority of associations were observed in the Large White cross. There was a significant association between genotype at the g.-311A>G locus and PRKAG3 gene expression in the Large White cross. In the same population, ten novel SNPs were identified within a 1.3 kb region spanning the promoter and from this three major haplotypes were inferred. Two tagging SNPs (g.-995A>G and g.-311A>G) characterised the haplotypes within the promoter region being studied. These two SNPs were subsequently genotyped in larger populations consisting of Large White (n = 98), Duroc (n = 99) and Pietrain (n = 98) purebreds. Four major haplotypes including promoter SNP’s g.-995A>G and g.-311A>G and I199V were inferred. In the Large White breed, HAP1 was associated with IMF% in the M. longissmus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) and driploss%. HAP2 was associated with IMFL% GP-influenced traits pH at 24 hr in LTL (pHULT), pH at 45 min in LTL (pH45LT) and pH at 45 min in the M. semimembranosus muscle (pH45SM). HAP3 was associated with driploss%, pHULT pH45LT and b* Minolta. In the Duroc breed, associations were observed between HAP1 and driploss% and pHUSM. No associations were observed with the remaining haplotypes (HAP2, HAP3 and HAP4) in the Duroc breed. The Pietrain breed was monomorphic in the promoter region. The I199V locus was associated with several GP-influenced traits across all three breeds and IMF% in the Large White and Pietrain breed. No significant difference in promoter function was observed for the three main promoter haplotypes when tested in vitro. Conclusion: Gene expression levels of the porcine PRKAG3 are associated with meat quality phenotypes relating to glycolytic potential and IMF% in the Large White breed, while SNP variation in the promoter region of the gene is associated with PRKAG3 gene expression and meat quality phenotypes.
    • Technologies for detecting PSE in pork

      Mullen, Anne Maria; McDonagh, Ciara; Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 2003-02)
      The ability of a single, on-line measurement to predict the quality status of an entire muscle or even of a whole carcass was investigated. Variation between pork muscles for on-line measurements of pH, conductivity and colour was evaluated. Intermuscular variation was detected at 24h p ostmortem with higher pH and conductivity values in the topside (M. s emimembranosus) than the striploin (M . longissimus thoracis et lumborum). Correlations showed that a relationship exists between the muscles (r = 0.46-0.88, p<0.05) at 45min and 3h p ostmortem. The location within the topside or the striploin at which the measurements were taken did not influence the result. Shackling did not introduce a significant variation between sides for pH, conductivity and colour values up to 24h p ostmortem, showing measurements could be taken on either side of the carcass.
    • Technology transfer of research results (The 2xtra project)

      McDonagh, Ciara; Byrne, Briege; Troy, Declan J.; Mullen, Anne Maria; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-02)
      The 2XTRA project (Technology Transfer Research Results Atlantic Area) was carried out with the aim of promoting economic activity based on research results and technologies developed within universities, research and technology institutes and companies in the European Atlantic Area. This collaborative work was carried out by a strong partnership of 13 entities across this region and included universities, research and technology institutes, private consultants and TBC (technology-based company) incubators. The specific goals of the project were: ● The exchange of information and experiences on technology transfer (TT) with a view to assisting project partners directly and feeding into their regional innovation systems. ● The promotion of new technology-based companies by drawing on collective experiences and developing methodologies relating to - identification and evaluation of business ideas - production of business plans, and - support of early stage companies internationalising. ● The creation of an Atlantic Area Network to support and promote technology-based companies (TBCs) and the technology transfer process. These objectives were achieved through defined activities carried out in three separate stages of this project.
    • Transcriptome analysis of porcine M. semimembranosus divergent in intramuscular fat as a consequence of dietary protein restriction

      Hamill, Ruth M; Aslan, Ozlem; Mullen, Anne Maria; O’Doherty, John V; McBryan, Jean; Morris, Dermot G.; Sweeney, Torres (Biomed Central, 2013-07-06)
      Background: Intramuscular fat (IMF) content is positively correlated with aspects of pork palatability, including flavour, juiciness and overall acceptability. The ratio of energy to protein in the finishing diet of growing pigs can impact on IMF content with consequences for pork quality. The objective of this study was to compare gene expression profiles of Musculus semimembranosus (SM) of animals divergent for IMF as a consequence of protein dietary restriction in an isocaloric diet. The animal model was derived through the imposition of low or high protein diets during the finisher stage in Duroc gilts. RNA was extracted from post mortem SM tissue, processed and hybridised to Affymetrix porcine GeneChip® arrays. Results: IMF content of SM muscle was increased on the low protein diet (3.60 ± 0.38% versus 1.92 ± 0.35%). Backfat depth was also greater in animals on the low protein diet, and average daily gain and feed conversion ratio were lower, but muscle depth, protein content and moisture content were not affected. A total of 542 annotated genes were differentially expressed (DE) between animals on low and high protein diets, with 351 down-regulated and 191 up-regulated on the low protein diet. Transcript differences were validated for a subset of DE genes by qPCR. Alterations in functions related to cell cycle, muscle growth, extracellular matrix organisation, collagen development, lipogenesis and lipolysis, were observed. Expression of adipokines including LEP, TNFα and HIF1α were increased and the hypoxic stress response was induced. Many of the identified transcriptomic responses have also been observed in genetic and fetal programming models of differential IMF accumulation, indicating they may be robust biological indicators of IMF content. Conclusion: An extensive perturbation of overall energy metabolism in muscle occurs in response to protein restriction. A low protein diet can modulate IMF content of the SM by altering gene pathways involved in lipid biosynthesis and degradation; however this nutritional challenge negatively impacts protein synthesis pathways, with potential consequences for growth.
    • 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.
    • Variation in the quality of meat from Irish steers at the time of slaughter.

      Moloney, Aidan P; Mullen, Anne Maria; Maher, S.C.; Buckley, D.J.; Kerry, J.P. (Teagasc, 2004-01-01)
      There is no information on the variation in quality, in particular tenderness, that exists in Irish Beef nor is there information on the variation that would remain if optimum practices were imposed at all stages of the beef production chain. Evaluation of the success of measures to improve beef consistency requires information on existing variation and the minimum variation achievable.The objectives of this project were (i) to establish the variation that exists in the quality of meat from Irish cattle, (ii) to quantify the minimum variation in meat quality that can be achieved in a practical beef production system, (iii) to determine the effects and mechanisms of additional sources of variation. The conclusions from this project are: • The M. longissimus dorsi (loin) was found to be more variable than the M. semimembranosus (topside) for most quality attributes examined (tenderness, sarcomere length and pH). The scale of variation within the loin was similar to that reported by the other research groups within the EU and US. Heifers were more variable than steers for most attributes, while there was no consistent classification effect on the variability of meat quality attributes. • Tenderness was equally variable in meat from genetically similar steers, managed similarly, compared to commercial steers randomly selected from a factory lairage but matched for weight and grade.This was likely a result of both groups being crossbred beef cattle of similar age, fat score, carcass weight and managed identically post-mortem. However, variation in tenderness of both groups was less than that observed in a survey of commercial throughput (experiment 1). This decrease is attributed to better pre-and-post-slaughter handling practices. • The data suggest that selection of sires (within a breed) with better than average conformation has no deleterious effect on the eating quality of beef of their progeny.A more comprehensive comparison of sires within a breed and between breeds is required to confirm the generality of this conclusion. • In a comparison of genotypes, gender and slaughter weights, there was no evidence that variation around the mean value for tenderness differed between breeds or liveweights after 14 days ageing. Bulls were more variable than steers for some quality traits but the variation in tenderness was similar for bulls and steers after 14 days ageing. • While optimising the management of animals during the pre and post-slaughter period reduced variation in tenderness, some residual variation remained. A large percentage of the residual variation in tenderness (Warner Bratzler shear force) after 2 and 7 days post-mortem was explained by proteolysis (breakdown of myofibrillar proteins).Variation in tenderness (Warner Bratzler shear force) after 2 days post-mortem was largely explained by phosphates (energy) and proteolysis, while sensory tenderness was largely explained by phosphates and glycolytic potential. • Further work is required to reduce residual variation in Irish beef and to determine the causes of this variation.