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T-Stór is Teagasc’s Open Access Repository, maintained by the Teagasc Library Service. Stór is the Gaelic word for Repository or Store or Warehouse, and T-Stór is an online “store” of Teagasc Research outputs and related documents. T-Stór collects preserves and makes freely available scholarly communication, including peer-reviewed articles, working papers and conference papers created by Teagasc researchers. Where material has already been published it is made available subject to the open-access policies of the original publishers. About Teagasc
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Prevalence of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV), Bovine Herpes Virus 1 (BHV 1), Leptospirosis and Neosporosis, and associated risk factors in 161 Irish beef herds(Biomed Central, 2018-01-06)Background There are limited data available, in Ireland or elsewhere, to determine the extent of exposure to various endemic diseases among beef cows and factors associated with exposure to causative pathogens. The objectives of this study were to determine the herd and within herd prevalence of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV), Bovine Herpes Virus 1 (BHV-1), Leptospirosis and Neosporosis in a large scale study of commercial beef herds on the island of Ireland, and to examine herd level factors associated with exposure to these pathogens in these herds. Results The average number of cows tested per herd was 35.5 (median 30). Herd level seroprevalence to Bovine Herpesvirus-1(BHV-1), Bovine Viral-Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV), Leptospirosis and Neosporosis was 90%, 100%, 91% and 67%, respectively, while the mean within herd prevalence for the these pathogens was 40%, 77.7%, 65.7% and 5.7%, respectively. The study confirms that the level of seroconversion for the four pathogens of interest increases with herd size. There was also evidence that exposure to one pathogen may increase the risk of exposure to another pathogen. Conclusions Herd level seroprevalences were in excess of 90% for BVDV, BHV-1 and Leptosporosis. Larger herds were subject to increased exposure to disease pathogens. This study suggests that exposure to several pathogens may be associated with the further exposure to other pathogens.
Comparative genomic and metabolic analysis of three Lactobacillus paracasei cheese isolates reveals considerable genomic differences in strains from the same niche(Biomed Central, 2018-03-20)Background Strains of Lactobacillus paracasei are present in many diverse environments, including dairy and plant materials and the intestinal tracts of humans and animals. Their adaptation to various niches is correlated to intra-species diversity at the genomic and metabolic level. In this study, we compared the genome sequences of three L. paracasei strains isolated from mature Cheddar cheeses, two of which (DPC4206 and DPC4536) shared the same genomic fingerprint by PFGE, but demonstrated varying metabolic capabilities. Results Genome sizes varied from 2.9 Mbp for DPC2071, to 3.09 Mbp for DPC4206 and 3.08 Mpb for DPC4536. The presence of plasmids was a distinguishing feature between the strains with strain DPC2071 possessing an unusually high number of plasmids (up to 11), while DPC4206 had one plasmid and DPC4536 harboured no plasmids. Each of the strains possessed specific genes not present in the other two analysed strains. The three strains differed in their abundance of sugar-converting genes, and in the types of sugars that could be used as energy sources. Genes involved in the metabolism of sugars not usually connected with the dairy niche, such as myo-inositol and pullulan were also detected, but strains did not utilise these sugars. The genetic content of the three strains differed in regard to specific genes for arginine and sulfur-containing amino acid metabolism and genes contributing to resistance to heavy metal ions. In addition, variability in the presence of phage remnants and phage protection systems was evident. Conclusions The findings presented in this study confirm a considerable level of heterogeneity of Lactobacillus paracasei strains, even between strains isolated from the same niche.
Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains(Biomed Central, 2018-01-08)Background Bifidobacterium longum is a common member of the human gut microbiota and is frequently present at high numbers in the gut microbiota of humans throughout life, thus indicative of a close symbiotic host-microbe relationship. Different mechanisms may be responsible for the high competitiveness of this taxon in its human host to allow stable establishment in the complex and dynamic intestinal microbiota environment. The objective of this study was to assess the genetic and metabolic diversity in a set of 20 B. longum strains, most of which had previously been isolated from infants, by performing whole genome sequencing and comparative analysis, and to analyse their carbohydrate utilization abilities using a gene-trait matching approach. Results We analysed their pan-genome and their phylogenetic relatedness. All strains clustered in the B. longum ssp. longum phylogenetic subgroup, except for one individual strain which was found to cluster in the B. longum ssp. suis phylogenetic group. The examined strains exhibit genomic diversity, while they also varied in their sugar utilization profiles. This allowed us to perform a gene-trait matching exercise enabling the identification of five gene clusters involved in the utilization of xylo-oligosaccharides, arabinan, arabinoxylan, galactan and fucosyllactose, the latter of which is an abundant human milk oligosaccharide (HMO). Conclusions The results showed high diversity in terms of genes and predicted glycosyl-hydrolases, as well as the ability to metabolize a large range of sugars. Moreover, we corroborate the capability of B. longum ssp. longum to metabolise HMOs. Ultimately, their intraspecific genomic diversity and the ability to consume a wide assortment of carbohydrates, ranging from plant-derived carbohydrates to HMOs, may provide an explanation for the competitive advantage and persistence of B. longum in the human gut microbiome.
Marine Functional Foods Research Initiative (NutraMara)(Marine Institute, 2017-12)The NutraMara – Marine Functional Foods Research Initiative was conceived by Sea Change - A Marine Knowledge, Research and Innovation Strategy for Ireland 2007-2013. The goal was to develop a collaborative funding mechanism that would create new research capacity and build the capabilities required to maximise the potential of Ireland’s extensive marine bioresources. By supporting a strong interdisciplinary research team, capable of exploring marine animals and plants as a sustainable source of materials for use as functional ingredients and foods, the vision for NutraMara was to position Ireland to the fore in use of marine bioresources as health beneficial ingredients. Commencing in 2008 and supported by funds of €5.2 million from the Marine Institute and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the research programme was led by Teagasc as the head of a multi-institutional consortium. The NutraMara consortium comprises marine bioresources and bioscience expertise, with food science and technology expertise from University College Cork; University College Dublin; the National University of Ireland Galway; the University of Limerick and Ulster University. Research effort was directed towards exploring Ireland’s marine bioresources – including macro- and microalgae, finfish and shellfish from wild and cultured sources: and discards from processing fish as sources of novel ingredients with bioactive characteristics. This discovery activity involved the collection of over 600 samples from 39 species of algae and fish and the analysis of 5,800 extracts, which resulted in 3,000 positive “hits” for bioactivity. The NutraMara consortium has built a strong research capacity to identify, characterise and evaluate marine-origin bioactives for use as/in functional foods. It further built the capacity to develop model foods enhanced with these marine-origin functional ingredients; providing insights to the processing challenges associated with producing functional ingredients from marine organisms. The consortium was actively engaged in research activities designed to identify and assess bioactive compounds from available marine resources, including polyphenols, proteins/peptides, amino acids, polysaccharides, polyunsaturated fatty acids and materials with antioxidant, probiotic or prebiotic properties. A key component of NutraMara’s activities was the development of human capital. The recruitment of M.Sc. and PhD students and their integration within a dynamic research environment that has strong links to industry, provided lasting expertise and capabilities, which are relevant to the needs of Ireland’s food and marine sectors. NutraMara research led to the awarding of eighteen PhDs and recruitment of 21 post-doctoral researchers over the eight year research programme. In excess of 80 peer reviewed publications resulted from this research and more publications are planned. A further 100 posters and conference presentations were also delivered by NutraMara researchers and Principal Investigators. The development and implementation of training and exchange programmes aimed at providing early stage researchers with inter-disciplinary skills that are critical to their development as researchers, enhanced the research capacity of institutions, the industry sectors and the country as a whole. Principal Investigators involved in leading the NutraMara research programme have secured additional research grants of almost €6 million from national and international sources and are engaged in extensive research collaboration involving marine and food research expertise; an activity which did not exist prior to NutraMara. The dissemination of knowledge and transfer of research results to industry were key activities in the research programme. The research outputs and visibility of NutraMara activity nationally resulted in 10 companies engaging in research and development activity with the consortium. Regular workshops and conferences organised by NutraMara attracted close to five hundred participants from Ireland and overseas. Members of the NutraMara core PI group have contributed to the formulation of new national foods and marine research policy and national research agenda, both during the national prioritisation exercise and in sectoral research strategies. This final project report describes the process by which research targets were identified, and the results of extensive screening and evaluation of compounds extracted from marine bioresources. It also highlights the development of new protocols designed to extract compounds in ways that are food friendly. Evaluating the functional properties, bioactivity and bioavailability of high potential marine compounds involved in vitro and in vivo testing. Pilot animal and human intervention studies yielded further insight to the potential and challenges in developing marine functional ingredients. As a result of work completed within the NutraMara consortium, Ireland is well positioned to continue to contribute to the development of ingredients derived from marine organisms and in doing so support the on-going development of Ireland’s food sector.
Microbiota-related Changes in Bile Acid & Tryptophan Metabolism are Associated with Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Autism(2017-09-15)Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the most prevalent neurodevelopmental conditions worldwide. There is growing awareness that ASD is highly comorbid with gastrointestinal distress and altered intestinal microbiome, and that host-microbiome interactions may contribute to the disease symptoms. However, the paucity of knowledge on gut-brain axis signaling in autism constitutes an obstacle to the development of precision microbiota-based therapeutics in ASD. To this end, we explored the interactions between intestinal microbiota, gut physiology and social behavior in a BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J mouse model of ASD. Here we show that a reduction in the relative abundance of very particular bacterial taxa in the BTBR gut – namely, bile-metabolizing Bifidobacterium and Blautia species, - is associated with deficient bile acid and tryptophan metabolism in the intestine, marked gastrointestinal dysfunction, as well as impaired social interactions in BTBR mice. Together these data support the concept of targeted manipulation of the gut microbiota for reversing gastrointestinal and behavioral symptomatology in ASD, and offer specific plausible targets in this endeavor.