• Acrylamide formation in potato products

      Brunton, Nigel; Gormley, Ronan T.; Butler, Francis; Cummins, Enda; Danaher, Martin; O'Keeffe, Michael (Teagasc, 2006-08)
      Acrylamide, a substance classified as a potential carcinogen, occurs in heated starchy foods at concentrations many times in excess of levels permitted in drinking water. Early surveys indicated that levels of acrylamide in potato products such as French fries and potato crisps were the highest of the foodstuffs investigated. The present project addressed this issue by determining levels of acrylamide precursors (asparagine and reducing sugars) in raw potatoes and levels of acrylamide in (i) potato products from different storage regimes, (ii) spot-sampled potatoes purchased from a local supermarket, (iii) samples that received pre-treatments and were fried at different temperatures and (iv) French fries reheated in different ovens.A risk assessment of the estimated acrylamide intake from potato products for various cohorts of the Irish population was also conducted.
    • Adding value to beef forequarter muscles

      Kenny, Tony; Lennon, Ann; Ward, Patrick; Sullivan, Paul; McDonald, Karl; Downey, Gerard; O'Neill, Eileen (Teagasc, 2008-11)
      The forequarter constitutes 50% of the weight of a beef carcase but only about 25% of its value. To fulfill the objectives of this project, the work was organised into 4 parts as follows: 1.Characterisation of the available raw material, in terms of properties of individual muscles seamed out from carcasses of representative types of animals produced in Ireland. 2.Comparison of yields and operator time for seaming and conventional boning. 3.Utilisation of separated muscles in added-value products using appropriate tenderising, bonding and forming technology. 4.Transfer of the knowledge and technology to the industry.
    • Adding value to Beef Forequarter Muscles

      Kenny, Tony; Lennon, Ann; Ward, Patrick; Sullivan, Paul; McDonald, Karl; O’Neill, Eileen; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-11-01)
      The forequarter constitutes 50% of the weight of a beef carcase but only about 25% of its value.To fulfill the objectives of this project, the work was organised into 4 parts as follows: 1.Characterisation of the available raw material, in terms of properties of individual muscles seamed out from carcasses of representative types of animals produced in Ireland. 2.Comparison of yields and operator time for seaming and conventional boning. 3.Utilisation of separated muscles in added-value products using appropriate tenderising, bonding and forming technology. 4.Transfer of the knowledge and technology to the industry.
    • Adding value to cull cow beef

      O'Donovan, Michael; Minchin, William; Buckley, Frank; Kenny, David; Shalloo, Laurence (Teagasc, 2009-08-01)
      This project addressed the prospects of increasing the value of cull cow beef and examined the potential of a number of different management and dietary strategies. In Ireland, the national cow herd contributes 350,000 animals to total beef production annually, which represents 22% of all cattle slaughtered (DAF, 2007). A dominant feature of beef production in Ireland is the disposal of cows from the dairy and beef industries, the time of year at which culling occurs influences the number of cows available for slaughter. Suitability of a cow for slaughter is generally not a consideration for dairy or beef farmers.
    • Adding value to milk by increasing its protein and CLA contents.

      Murphy, J.J.; Stanton, Catherine; O'Donovan, Michael; Kavanagh, S.; Maher, J.; Patton, J.; Mohammed, R. (Teagasc, 2008-08-01)
      Five experiments were undertaken in this project; one on mid-summer milk protein and four on milk CLA content. Thus the two main objectives of this project were to determine the factors associated with milk protein concentration in mid-summer and to investigate potential further strategies to increase the CLA content of pasture produced milk.
    • Adding Value To Under utilised Fish Species

      Fagan, John; Gormley, Ronan T.; Mitchell, Michelle; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2006-02-01)
      Tightening fish quotas and supply shortages for conventional species are causing major difficulties for both fishermen and seafood processors. There is a need, therefore, to explore the potential of underutilised fish species both as fillets or portions and as added-value products. The current project at Ashtown Food Research Centre (AFRC) addressed this issue for a number of underutilised species via (a) sous vide processing (with savoury sauces),(b)marinating (salt- and sugar-based marinades) and (c) via a combination of freeze-chilling and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).A range of physico-chemical and sensory tests was conducted on the products and their shelf-life status was also determined.
    • Adding value to under-utilised fish species

      Fagan, John; Gormley, Ronan T.; Mitchell, Michelle; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2006-02)
      Tightening fish quotas and supply shortages for conventional species are causing major difficulties for both fishermen and seafood processors. There is a need, therefore, to explore the potential of underutilised fish species both as fillets or portions and as added-value products. The current project at Ashtown Food Research Centre (AFRC) addressed this issue for a number of underutilised species via (a) sous vide processing (with savoury sauces),(b)marinating (salt- and sugar-based marinades) and (c) via a combination of freeze-chilling and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP).A range of physico-chemical and sensory tests was conducted on the products and their shelf-life status was also determined.
    • Advanced and conventional methods for vegetative propagation of selected lines of oak and cherry.

      Douglas, Gerry C. (Teagasc, 1999-04-01)
      Oak and wild cherry (Prunus avium) are important broadleaved species. We have identified superior trees and conserved them by grafting. Methods for the large scale propagation of selected trees was evaluated using the technology of micropropagation. For oak we could establish shoot cultures from mature oaks but their propagation rate was too low and difficult for practical application. With wild cherry micropropagation is a feasible option for large scale production of selected material. Genetic fingerprinting technology was developed and applied to oaks. We showed that all material propagated vegetatively from oak was genetically similar to the original donor tree. Furthermore we used genetic fingerprinting to analyse a unique stand of elite oaks in Co. Westmeath and determined that the selected trees were not closely related to each other. The analysis of genetic fingerprints of 16 elite oaks also showed that five of them had an unusual pattern of DNA and one tree was identified as a rare triploid tree.
    • Agronomic performance of acid-based liquid fertilisers on winter wheat.

      Burke, J.I.; O'Reilly, B.; Gallagher, E.G. (Teagasc, 1999-12-01)
      In the early 90’s, a new and novel means (liquid Flex system) of crop fertilisation was launched on the Irish market which was capable of supplying the crop’s total nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and trace element requirement in liquid form, formulated to meet specific crop requirements. This system included novel chemistry, untested under Irish conditions and with little specific reference in the scientific literature. The chemistry of the liquid Flex system consists of an acid-based material. Stable compounds i.e. urea sulphate, urea phosphate and urea-metal complexes are formed by the reaction of urea with sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid and metal salts, respectively. Interest in these materials has been generated because they possess a number of physical and chemical characteristics, which, in theory, should be beneficial. However, the ability of the Flex system to effectively supply nutrients to the plant has not been researched. A field and greenhouse experimental programme was carried out over the three seasons, 1996-1998 to compare acid-base/urea-metal complexes with conventional fertilisers and to investigate whether this unconventional chemistry could lead to increased biological efficiency. The trial programme evaluated the Flex system, both as individual components and as a complete fertiliser. In field comparisons, formulation of P as urea phosphate gave similar results to conventional granular superphosphate in terms of grain yield, recovery of P by the crop and grain quality, regardless of soil type. This was supported by the results from the greenhouse experiment. In field comparisons of the main soil-applied liquid Flex source of N, i.e. N24 (urea with the addition of a standard level of acid and metal salts) with conventional N formulations, N24 gave poorer performance than CAN and granular urea in warm dry conditions due to insufficient inhibition to substantially reduce ammonia volatilisation. In wet conditions, the slow release of N from inhibited urea may have reduced the potential loss from leaching or denitrification, and led to a better performance than CAN or urea. The additional product of the Flex system, i.e. liquid Flex urea - N18 (urea with the addition of metal salts), applied as a foliar spray, was no more efficient than liquid urea as a late N source. The Flex urea had the disadvantage that it gave higher scorch levels than conventional liquid urea. When flag leaf scorch was excessive, grain yield was affected and quality suffered, with reduced grain and hectolitre weights. Where early application of P may have been critical to obtain maximum response, the N that accompanied the early application of P as urea phosphate was most likely lost through leaching. The application of large quantities of K in any one application with the liquid system was restricted due to solubility problems, which ultimately resulted in delayed application in soils with low K levels. The Flex system does not lead to increased biological efficiency. However, as farms get bigger and greater emphasis is placed on the reduction of water and air pollution, the liquid Flex system may become attractive because of its practical advantages in handling, storage and application and the ability to tailor-make specific formulations for given crop requirements.
    • AI For Sheep Using Frozen-thawed Semen.

      Donovan, A.; Hanrahan, J.P.; Lally, T.; Boland, M.P.; Byrne, G.P.; Duffy, P.; Lonergan, P.; O'Neill, D.J. (Teagasc, 2001-01-01)
      International experience has been that cervical insemination of sheep with frozen-thawed semen usually yields unacceptably low pregnancy rates (10 to 30%). An exceptional case has been Norway where non-return rates in on-farm usage are around 60%. The objective of the work described in this report was to develop an AI procedure for Irish conditions, based initially on Norwegian protocols, using semen from individual rams. Such a procedure would greatly facilitate and enhance genetic improvement programmes for sheep. The work undertaken had two separate aspects:- (i) studies on semen, including processing and freezing methods, laboratory evaluation of semen quality post thawing and the relationship of in vitro evaluation to fertilisation rate in vivo (ii) studies on pregnancy rate following AI in relation to issues such as ram breed effects, effects of synchronisation, operator differences and the role of ewe breed inducing the timing of ovulation and various physical and physiological assessments of the cervix at AI. The main results in relation to semen studies were that, while a range of differential staining procedures could be used to objectively evaluate semen with respect to proportion of live speramatozoa and the integrity of sperm cells after thawing, these results were not useful as indicators of fertilisation capacity in vivo. The in vitro fertilisation (IVF) of sheep oocytes recovered from abattoir material gave promising results as a method for evaluating the fertilisation capacity of frozen-thawed semen. The technique requires further validation.
    • Alternative Enterprises: Economic Performance and Viability.

      Connolly, L. (Teagasc, 1999-11-01)
      The economic environment for Irish farming has changed dramatically over the last two decades. The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy with the introduction of quotas on the main farm enterprises in the 1980’s, forced farmers to consider diversifying into new or “alternative” uses for their land, buildings and other resources. The main objectives of this study were to identify the factors affecting the profitability and expansion in the main alternative livestock enterprises and also in rural tourism. Investment costs, returns on investment and market prospects for these new enterprises were investigated. The main livestock enterprises considered were deer, sport horses, dairy goats and free range poultry.
    • Ammonium thiosulphate as an environmentally friendly tool for reducing N inputs.

      Murphy, Matthew D. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The overall objective of the EU funded project was to evaluate the ability of ammonium thiosulphate (ATS) to act as an inhibitor of urease and nitrification processes and as a source of plant nutrient S when added to solid and liquid fertilisers and to slurries. These initial experiments have shown the need for further research on (a) applying ATS directly to the soil rather than to the herbage surface, and (b) adding ATS to the slurry in the storage tank simultaneously with slurry excretion.
    • Animal Transport: Developing optimum animal handling procedures and effective transport strategies in the food production chain to improve animal welfare and food quality.

      Earley, Bernadette; Murray, Margaret; Prendiville, Daniel J. (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      A series of studies were performed to investigate the effect of transport on liveweight, physiological and haematological responses of cattle.
    • Animal Welfare Guidelines for Beef Producing Farms

      Fallon, Richard J.; Earley, Bernadette; Finnerty, Martina (Teagasc, 1998-10-01)
      The scientific consideration of farm animal welfare is important, due to ethical obligation to maximise health and well-being and eliminate suffering in animals that are under human stewardship, fulfil the requirements and demands of the general community and improve the efficiency of animal agriculture by optimising animal health and productivity. The welfare guidelines are intended to enable farmers to adopt the highest standards of animal health and welfare.
    • Antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens

      Duffy, Geraldine; Walsh, Ciara (Teagasc, 2005-02)
      Wide-spread antibiotic resistance among bacterial pathogens is now a serious public health issue and multi-antibiotic resistance has been reported in many foodborne pathogens including Salmonella and E. coli.
    • The Application of Harvester -Mounted Forage Yield Sensing Devices.

      Forristal, P.D.; Keppel, D. (Teagasc, 2001-07-01)
      The development and application of precision agriculture technology to forage crops offers scope for improved management practices and targeting of inputs. In particular, the ability to measure forage throughput on a harvester would form the basis for improved management decisions and the ability to exploit precision agriculture technology, including accurate application of forage additives. The aim of this project was to develop a forage throughput sensor and to use that sensor to record yield variability and to accurately control additive application. Following preliminary trials, a force sensing plate placed in a forage harvester chute was developed and assessed. A very good relationship between sensed throughput and measured throughput was achieved, with regression coefficients of between 0.88 and 0.96 recorded in a series of trials. The relationship was established on a fresh-weight basis. Calibration could present difficulties in practice. The forage throughput sensor was linked to a GPS positioning system and a modified yield monitor/recording system to facilitate the measurement of yield variability in the field. Considerable difficulties were encountered with compatibility of the various components, including the analysis software. While a forage yield map was created and illustrated the levels of yield variability within a field, the need for simultaneous on-harvester dry matter sensing was apparent. A throughput-based additive application control system was designed, developed and tested. The unit performed satisfactorily, resulting in less variation in the quantity of additive applied to harvested grass compared to conventional application systems. In conclusion, there is scope for the application of precision agriculture technology, based on forage yield sensing, on grassland farms. However, there are many differences between the adoption of this technology on grassland farms compared to arable farms. In particular, yield-sensing accuracy is unlikely to be as good, and the need for simultaneous DM sensing is critical. Forage yield sensors will be commercialised soon. There will then be a need to evaluate these systems and the application of precision agriculture technology to grassland systems.
    • The Application of On-line Sensors and Novel Control Technologies for Food Processing

      O’Callagan, Donal; O'Donnell, C.; Mulholland, E.; Duffy, A. (Teagasc, 1999-02-01)
      The objective of this research was to apply on-line continuous sensors in food processing, in particular in cheese and milk powder manufacture, in order to improve process control, for example, by achieving higher quality, increased yields, reduced losses and less downgrading of product. This project focused on technologies for monitoring rheologyrelated parameters. The main conclusions were as follows: * Seven systems for monitoring curd formation in cheesemaking were evaluated in the laboratory. * Two on-line systems for monitoring curd firmness (hot-wire and NIR reflectance) have been deployed in a commercial cheese plant with promising results. * Experimental results demonstrated that NIR reflectance / transmission probes have a potential for on-line application in cheesemaking. Despite the difference in scale, the commercial sensors compared well with the cheesemaker s observation of curd firming and look promising as an objective means of predicting curd cut time in an industrial cheese plan. * A detailed knowledge of the rheological variation in cheese curd has been developed and a means of investigating factors which influence the rheology of cheese curd (e.g. effect of heat treatment or fortification of cheesemilk) has been determined. * Technologies available for monitoring concentrate viscosity changes in the production of milk powder have been assembled at pilot scale, and initial trials have been encouraging. Further evaluation of the MTL plant to assess on-line performance, ruggedness and cleanability are planned.
    • Application of Probiotic Bacteria to Functional Foods

      Stanton, Catherine; Ross, R.Paul; Fitzgerald, G.; Collins, K.; McBrearty, S.; Gardiner, G.; Desmond, C.; Kelly, J.; Bouchier, P.; Lawless, F.; Auty, Mark; Corcoran, M.; Mullins, C.; Mullholand, E.; Eason, D. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      Probiotic cultures are described as live microbial feed supplements that improve intestinal microbial balance and are intended for maintenance of health or prevention, rather than the curing of disease. The demand for probiotic foods is increasing in Europe, Japan and the U.S. reflecting the heightened awareness among the public of the relationship between diet and health. Traditionally, the most popular food delivery systems for these cultures have been freshly fermented dairy foods, such as yogurts and fermented milks, as well as unfermented milks with cultures added. However, in the development of functional foods, the technological suitability of probiotic strains poses a serious challenge since their survival and viability may be adversely affected by processing conditions as well as by the product environment and storage conditions. This is a particular concern, given that high levels (at least 107 per gram or ml) of live micro-organisms are recommended for probiotic products. In previous studies (see DPRC No. 29) the successful manufacture of probiotic Cheddar cheese harbouring high levels (>108 cfu/g) of the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei NFBC 338 strain was reported. Hence, the overall objective of these studies was to continue the development and evaluation of Functional Foods containing high levels of viable probiotic bacteria, with particular emphasis on overcoming the technological barriers and the identification of strains suited to particular applications, such as incorporation into Cheddar cheese and spray-dried powders.
    • Aspects of management options for pasture-based dairy production stocked at two cows per hectare

      Humphreys, James; Lawless, Aidan; Healy, M.; Boland, A.; McNamara, K. (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      White clover in association with Rhizobium bacteria have the capacity to fix or convent atmospheric N into plant available N. This can make a considerable contribution to sward productivity. One of the objectives of this experiment was to determine the upper carrying capacity of grass-white clover swards receiving 90 kg fertilizer N/ha. A second objective was to examine the impact of grass-clover swards on mineral-N in the soil and losses of nitrate-N from soil to drainage water during the winter. This experiment was conducted at Solohead Research Farm. There were three treatments: (i) A grass-only treatment (FN) stocked at 2.0 cows per ha in 2003 and 2.2 cows per ha during 2004, 2005 and 2006. This treatment received an average of 226 kg per ha of fertilizer N per year during these years. (ii) A grass-clover treatment (WC) stocked at the same rates as FN and received an average of 90 kg per ha of fertilizer N per year during the experiment. (iii) A grass-only treatment (CC) that was gradually converted over to grass-clover during the experiment and stocked at 2.0 cows per ha throughout the experiment. Fertilizer N input was gradually lowered from 150 kg per ha in 2003 to a target of 90 kg per ha in 2005 and 2006.
    • Aspects of slurry management on pig farms.

      O'Connell-Motherway, S.; Lynch, P.B.; Carton, Owen T.; O'Toole, P. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The objectives of manure or slurry management on intensive pig farms are the provision of adequate slurry storage capacity and the efficient recycling of the slurry nutrients for crop production. However, recent surveys of pig slurry dry matter suggest there is excessive dilution of raw pig slurry with water. This has two important implications for management. The first is greater storage capacity will be required due to the increased volume of slurry generated. Slurry storage is expensive. For example, a 350 sow unit adding 10 weeks storage needs to invest £50,000. Secondly, evidence from the literature indicates an improved slurry nitrogen efficiency with the more dilute manure. The results of field trials showed that higher dry matter pig slurries reduced the relative efficiency of pig slurry nitrogen for second cut silage production. This is probably linked to reduced ammonia volatilisation losses, consequent to the less viscous nature of dilute slurry which permits a more rapid infiltration of the ammonium nitrogen into the soil. The use of a band spreader or shallow injection rather than the conventional splash plate were shown to increase the efficiency of pig slurry nitrogen for grass silage production. Therefore, the potential for the higher pig slurry dry matter, required for cost effective storage/ handling costs, to reduce the efficiency of its nitrogen for grass silage production can be partially offset by using band spreaders or shallow injection spreading systems. These have the added advantage of reducing odour emissions from the land spreading operation.