• 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.
    • Biochemical and physical indicators of beef quality

      Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Beef of a consistent quality is required by the meat industry in order to maintain and expand markets. Measurement of beef quality is difficult at factory level. Measurements to indicate the final eating quality are not well developed yet. This project examined novel approaches to this problem using biochemical and physical methods. The Biochemical indicators of beef quality examined included: pH , Protease activity as a potential indicator of meat tenderness, Cathepsin B and cathepsin B&L activities in relation to beef ageing, Relationship between cathepsin B and cathepsin B&L activity and WBSF values, Protein fragments as an indication of beef tenderness and Myofibrillar proteins. The Physical indicators of beef quality examined included: Post-mortem changes in muscle electrical properties and their relationship to meat quality attributes, Near infrared reflectance spectra as indicators of beef quality, Shear force as an indicator of tenderness.
    • Body and carcass measurements, carcass conformation and tissue distribution of high dairy genetic merit Holstein, standard dairy genetic merit Friesian and Charolais x Holstein-Friesian male cattle

      McGee, Mark; Keane, Michael G.; Neilan, R.; Moloney, Aidan P; Caffrey, P.J. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      The increased proportion of Holstein genes in the dairy herd may have undesirable consequences for beef production in Ireland. A total of 72 spring-born calves, (24 Holstein (HO), 24 Friesian (FR) and 24 Charolais X Holstein-Friesian (CH)) were reared from calfhood to slaughter. Calves were artificially reared indoors and spent their first summer at pasture following which they were assigned to a 3 breeds (HO, FR and CH) 2 production systems (intensive 19-month bull beef and extensive 25-month steer beef) 2 slaughter weights (560 and 650 kg) factorial experiment. Body measurements of all animals were recorded at the same time before the earliest slaughter date. After slaughter, carcasses were graded and measured and the pistola hind-quarter was separated into fat, bone and muscle. HO had significantly higher values for withers height, pelvic height and chest depth than FR, which in turn had higher values than CH. HO had a longer back and a narrower chest than either FR or CH, which were not significantly different. Carcass length and depth, pistola length, and leg length were 139.2, 134.4 and 132.0 (s.e. 0.81), 52.1, 51.3 and 47.7 (s.e. 0.38), 114.4, 109.0 and 107.0 (s.e. 0.65) and 76.7, 71.9 and 71.4 (s.e. 0.44) cm for HO, FR and CH, respectively. Breed differences in pistola tissue distribution between the joints were small and confined to the distal pelvic limb and ribs. There were relatively small breed differences in the distribution of pistola muscle weight between individual muscles. Body measurements were significantly greater for animals on the intensive system (bulls) than the extensive system (steers) in absolute terms, but the opposite was so when they were expressed relative to live weight. The only significant difference in relative carcass measurements between the production systems was for carcass depth, which was lower for the intensive compared with the extensive system. Increasing slaughter weight significantly increased all carcass measurements in absolute terms but reduced them relative to weight. It is concluded that there were large differences between the breed types in body and carcass measurements, and hence in carcass shape and compactness but differences in tissue distribution were small.
    • A catalogue of validated single nucleotide polymorphisms in bovine orthologs of mammalian imprinted genes and associations with beef production traits

      Magee, D. A.; Berkowicz, Erik W; Sikora, K. M.; Berry, Donagh P.; Park, S. D. E.; Kelly, A. K.; Sweeney, T.; Kenny, David A.; Evans, R. D.; Wickham, B. W.; Spillane, C.; MacHugh, D. E. (Cambridge University Press, 2010-06)
      Genetic (or ‘genomic’) imprinting, a feature of approximately 100 mammalian genes, results in monoallelic expression from one of the two parentally inherited chromosomes. To date, most studies have been directed on imprinted genes in murine or human models; however, there is burgeoning interest in the effects of imprinted genes in domestic livestock species. In particular, attention has focused on imprinted genes that influence foetal growth and development and that are associated with several economically important production traits in cattle, sheep and pigs. We have re-sequenced regions in 20 candidate bovine imprinted genes in order to validate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that may influence important production traits in cattle. Putative SNPs detected via re-sequencing were subsequently re-formatted for high-throughput SNP genotyping in 185 cattle samples comprising 138 performance-tested European Bos taurus (all Limousin bulls), 29 African B. taurus and 18 Indian B. indicus samples. Analysis of the resulting genotypic data identified 117 validated SNPs. Preliminary genotype–phenotype association analyses using 83 SNPs that were polymorphic in the Limousin samples with minor allele frequencies >0.05 revealed significant associations between two candidate bovine imprinted genes and a range of important beef production traits: average daily gain, average feed intake, live weight, feed conversion ratio, residual feed intake and residual gain. These genes were the Ras proteinspecific guanine nucleotide releasing factor gene ( RASGRF1) and the zinc finger, imprinted 2 gene ( ZIM2). Despite the relatively small sample size used in these analyses, the observed associations with production traits are supported by the purported biological function of the RASGRF1 and ZIM2 gene products. These results support the hypothesis that imprinted genes contribute significantly to important complex production traits in cattle. Furthermore, these SNPs may be usefully incorporated into future marker-assisted and genomic selection breeding schemes.
    • Development and implementation of genomic predictions in beef cattle

      Berry, Donagh P.; Garcia, J.F.; Garrick, D. J. (American Society of Animal Science, 2016-01-05)
      Beef production represents a considerable contribution to local and global economies and food security but also the environmental footprint of agricultural production systems. The development of accurate genomic evaluations in beef populations are more difficult than in dairy populations for reasons including the presence of multiple breeds, poor extent of phenotyping, lack of artificial insemination, and beef systems being generally a lower-margin business of poorer adopters of technology. Several options exist to minimize or overcome the limitations of developing accurate genomic evaluations for beef cattle.
    • The development and/or validation of novel intervention technologies to assure meat food safety

      Bolton, Declan J.; Byrne, Brian; Lyng, James G. (Teagasc, 2007-02)
      This project was undertaken to fill some of the knowledge gaps in meat food safety from farm to fork. The data provide the scientific basis for a clean sheep policy to reduce the impact of fleece as a source of microbial contamination on ovine carcasses at the beginning of the slaughter process. At the other end of the slaughter-line, a polyurethane sponge swabbing technology was developed for ovine and bovine carcass sampling as required in 2001/471/EC and the new European Commission Hygiene Regulations. At the processing stages, studies were undertaken to determine the most effective media for the recovery and culture of Cl. perfringens cells and spores; the results were then applied to thermal inactivation studies on these bacteria. Thermal resistance data were also obtained for Bacillus cereus and a radio frequency cook for meat products was validated in terms of the destruction of Cl. perfringens and B. cereus cells and spores. Finally, an aerobiology study investigated the effectiveness of a range on measures to prevent air acting as a vector for bacterial dispersion in a meat processing plant.
    • Development of a Strategic Approach for a Single EU Beef Market. Extensification. An Analysis of National and Competitive Issues

      Dunne, Liam; Shanahan, Ultan; O’Connell, John (Teagasc, 2008-12-31)
      The economic merits of the two Options for extensification under Agenda 2000 were evaluated in relation to their ability to generate revenue and their impact on the competitiveness of Irish cattle farming.
    • Enhancing the healthiness, shelf-life and flavour of Irish fresh packaged beef

      Moloney, Aidan P; Murray, Brendan; Troy, Declan J.; O'Grady, Michael; Kerry, Joseph; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2007-02)
      Consumer concern about the nutritional aspects of health has heightened interest in developing methods for manipulation of the fatty acid composition of ruminant products. Ruminant meats such as beef and lamb are often criticised by nutritionists for having high amounts of saturated (S) fatty acids and low levels of polyunsaturated (P) fatty acids. The P:S ratio in beef is approximately 0.1, the ideal being about 0.4. However, an excessive increase in P concentration could predispose beef lipids to rancidity and loss of shelflife. Moreover, the colour of meat is an important influence on the purchase decision of the consumer. This report summarises the Teagasc contribution to a larger project supported under the Food Institutional Research Measure programme administrated by the Department of Agriculture and Food. The Teagasc contribution focused on enhancing the fatty acid composition of beef by nutritional manipulation of cattle using grazing and plant oils, the use of healthy - fatty acid enriched bovine tissue to make a processed beef product and the efficacy of dietary inclusion of tea catechins and rosemary to enhance the shelf-life of beef.
    • Enhancing the tenderness of beef

      Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      This project investigated various methods which had potential to increase beef tenderness and was also aimed at elucidating the biochemical mechanism underlying the improved tenderness.
    • Evaluation of beef eating quality by Irish consumers

      McCarthy, Sinead; Henchion, Maeve; White, A.; Brandon, K.; Allen, Paul; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 04/R&D/TN/256 (Elsevier, 2017-05-08)
      A consumer's decision to purchase beef is strongly linked to its sensory properties and consistent eating quality is one of the most important attributes. Consumer taste panels were held according to the Meat Standards Australia guidelines and consumers scored beef according to its palatability attributes and completed a socio-demographic questionnaire. Consumers were able to distinguish between beef quality on a scale from unsatisfactory to premium with high accuracy. Premium cuts of beef scored significantly higher on all of the scales compared to poorer quality cuts. Men rated grilled beef higher on juiciness and flavour scales compared to women. Being the main purchaser of beef had no impact on rating scores. Overall the results show that consumers can judge eating quality with high accuracy. Further research is needed to determine how best to communicate inherent benefits that are not visible into extrinsic eating quality indicators, to provide the consumer with consistent indications of quality at the point of purchase.
    • Genetic variation in wholesale carcass cuts predicted from digital images in cattle

      Pabiou, T.; Fikse, W. F.; Amer, P. R.; Cromie, A. R.; Nasholm, A.; Berry, Donagh P. (Cambridge University Press, 2011-06)
      The objective of this study was to quantify the genetic variation in carcass cuts predicted using digital image analysis in commercial cross-bred cattle. The data set comprised 38 404 steers and 14 318 heifers from commercial Irish herds. The traits investigated included the weights of lower value cuts (LVC), medium value cuts (MVC), high value cuts (HVC), very high value cuts (VHVC) and total meat weight. In addition, the weights of total fat and total bones were available on the steers. Heritability of carcass cut weights, within gender, was estimated using an animal linear model, whereas genetic and phenotypic correlations among cuts were estimated using a sire linear model. Carcass weight was included as a covariate in all models. In the steers, heritability ranged from 0.13 (s.e.50.02) for VHVC to 0.49 (s.e.50.03) for total bone weight, and in the heifers heritability ranged from 0.15 (s.e.50.04) for MVC to 0.72 (s.e.50.06) for total meat weight. The coefficient of genetic variation for the different cuts varied from 1.4% to 3.6%. Genetic correlations between the different cut weights were all positive and ranged from 0.45 (s.e.50.08) to 0.89 (s.e.50.03) in the steers, and from 0.47 (s.e.50.14) to 0.82 (s.e.50.06) in the heifers. Genetic correlations between the wholesale cut weights and carcass conformation ranged from 0.32 (s.e.50.06) to 0.45 (s.e.50.07) in the steers, and from 0.10 (s.e.50.12) to 0.38 (s.e.50.09) in the heifers. Genetic correlations between the same wholesale cut traits in steers and heifers ranged from 0.54 (s.e.50.14) for MVC to 0.79 (s.e.50.06) for total meat weight; genetic correlations between carcass weight and carcass classification for conformation and fat score in both genders varied from 0.80 to 0.87. The existence of genetic variation in carcass cut traits, coupled with the routine availability of predicted cut weights from digital image analysis, clearly shows the potential to genetically improve carcass value.
    • Genetics of reproductive performance in seasonal calving beef cows and its association with performance traits

      Berry, Donagh P.; Evans, R.D. (American Society of Animal Science, 2014-11-24)
      Due primarily to a lack of phenotypic data, little research has been undertaken on the genetics of reproductive performance in beef cattle. The objective of this study was to quantify, using data from the Irish national cattle herd, the contribution of additive genetics to phenotypic differences in reproductive performance in beef cattle and to investigate whether routinely available early predictors of genetic merit for reproductive performance exist. Up to 218,718 parity records from 156,506 animals were used to estimate variance components for a range of reproductive traits using repeatability animal linear mixed models. Covariances with performance traits were estimated using bivariate sire linear mixed models. The reproductive traits were age at first calving, calving in the first 42 d of the calving seasons (defined separately in heifers and cows), calving interval between consecutive calving events, and survival to the next lactation. Performance traits included calving dystocia, linear type traits describing the skeletal, muscular, and functional characteristics of an animal, live weight and price, carcass traits, and producer subjectively scored traits of weanling quality and docility. Heritability for age at first calving was 0.31 while the heritability of the remaining reproductive traits ranged from 0.01 to 0.06; repeatability estimates varied from 0.02 to 0.06. Increased muscularity, measured either by trained assessors or producers on live animals, or by mechanical grading machines on slaughtered animals (i.e., carcass conformation), was genetically correlated with reduced reproductive performance for some of the reproductive variables assessed. This is one of the largest studies undertaken on the genetics of reproduction in beef herds and clearly shows that genetic selection for improved reproductive performance in beef herds is feasible. However, breeding goals that select for muscularity and live weight or growth rate should be cognizant of indirect response to selection that may cause any deterioration in reproductive performance.
    • HACCP for Irish beef, pork and lamb slaughter

      Bolton, Declan J.; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 2002-02)
      It is generally accepted that HACCP principles should be incorporated into the food safety control systems in meat processing plants to better assure food safety. The objective of this project was to publish detailed HACCP slaughter documents for the Irish beef, pork and lamb processing industries. These would provide the necessary information and detail to facilitate the implementation of HACCP on the slaughter floor (from lairage to chilling) in Irish meat plants. To this end `HACCP for Irish Beef Slaughter' was published in October 2000, `HACCP for Irish Pork Slaughter' in December 2001 and `HACCP for Irish Lamb Slaughter' will be available early in 2002. These are non-generic, detailed documents which provide the scientific basis for establishing critical control points (CCP), critical limits, monitoring and corrective action procedures.
    • Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) and hygiene control auditing in Irish beef abattoirs

      Bolton, Declan J.; Pearce, Rachel; Tergney, Anabel; Howlett, Brendan (Teagasc, 2007-06)
      This project validated two innovative technologies for use in improving the safety of Irish beef. Online monitoring was developed and successfully tested as a tool for controlling faecal contamination on beef carcasses with the resultant reduction in microbial counts. A novel anti-microbial, LactiSAL®, was also tested and validated for use in the beef industry. Sponge swabbing using a polyurethane sponge was developed and validated for use in carcass testing as required in European Commission Decision 2001/471/EC. The costs of developing and implementing a HACCP system in Irish beef slaughter plants were assessed. Furthermore, a guide to relevant food safety legislation, including the development and auditing of HACCP and prerequisites for beef slaughter (in compliance with 2001/471/EC and the European Commission Hygiene Regulations), was developed and published.
    • The impact of feed resource costs on the relative competitiveness of beef with other meats

      Dunne, William; Shanahan, Ultan; O’Connell, J.J. (Teagasc, 2008-11-01)
      These reforms represented a major turning point in fundamental structure of EU agricultural policy. This, at the time of implementation, created much uncertainty at both institutional and farm level in relation to future feed resource costs, cattle and beef prices and related market outlooks. However, as this report shows, the reality for Irish cattle farmers was rather different. As a result much of the research effort during the lifespan of the project was diverted to explaining the causes of the unforeseen outcomes together with the implications of policy decisions and related market developments.
    • Indicator organisms to determine the use of chilling as a critical point in beef slaughter HACCP

      Prendergast, Deirdre M.; Sheridan, James J.; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2008-11)
      During chilling, temperatures of carcass surfaces at different sites change over time as do other parameters such as water activity (aw), the structure of the muscle and other tissues, as the carcass enters rigor mortis. Many of these factors are known to have a major effect on cell survival and growth and must be considered in determining the influence of chilling on bacterial survival on carcass surfaces. This study aimed to determine if chilling could be used as a critical control point (CCP) in beef slaughter in relation to pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes, using E. coli and Listeria innocua as pathogen indicators. The present study was designed to determine the influence of (a) chilling at 10oC for 72 h on the survival of E. coli and (b) chilling at 4oC for 72 h on the survival of L. innocua inoculated at different sites on beef carcasses. Three sites (neck, outside round and brisket) were inoculated (1) immediately after dressing while hot (E. coli and L. innocua) and (2) when cold after chilling (L. innocua). The influence of changes in surface aw was also considered and their relationship to the survival of E. coli and L. innocua over time was assessed. The data are discussed in relation to the use of chilling as a CCP in beef hazard analysis (HACCP) and the monitoring of neck temperature as the most suitable CCP.
    • Influence of feeding systems on the eating quality of beef

      Troy, Declan J.; Murray, Brendan; O'Sullivan, Aidan; Mooney, Teresa; Moloney, Aidan P; Kerry, Joseph (Teagasc, 2002-10)
      The objective was to determine pre-slaughter factors which may enhance the eating quality of beef and to assist the Irish beef production chain to exploit these factors to produce beef of higher quality and increased consumer acceptability. The effects of pre-slaughter growth rate, high energy diets, feed type and age at slaughter on beef quality were examined.
    • Influence of short-term pre-aging in vacuum on physicochemical characteristics and consumer acceptability of modified atmosphere packed beef steaks

      Lopacka, Joanna; Zontala, Katarzyna; Pietras, Jacek; Poltarak, Andrzej; Wierzbicka, Agnieszka (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
      The objective of this study was to investigate the physiochemical changes and consumer acceptability of meat packed in high oxygen modified atmosphere during 12 days of storage with and without pre-aging in vacuum for 7 days. Steak samples from forequarter muscles Infraspinatus and Supraspinatus were stored at 2°C and tested for colour, Warner–Bratzler shear force (WBSF), storage/cooking loss, and consumer acceptability. Overall consumer acceptability at the beginning of modified atmosphere display was higher for aged Infraspinatus samples, however at the end of display samples from both treatments were equally rated by consumers. No impact of aging was observed in terms of storage loss, while cooking loss was slightly affected by aging, resulting in higher losses in aged samples at the end of modified atmosphere storage. Inclusion of an aging process prior to modified atmosphere display improved the tenderness of Infraspinatus muscle at the 8th day of display and led to a considerable increase in redness of both muscles.
    • Irish consumers' willingness to pay for safe beef

      Cowan, Cathal; Riordan, Nicola; McCarthy, Mary (Teagasc, 2000-09)
      Five hundred Irish consumers were asked about their willingness to pay for safe beef. Their concerns for the safety of food, their level of knowledge of safe food practices and awareness of food poisoning agents were also ascertained.
    • A nationwide surveillance study on E.coli 0157:H7 and enterobacteriaceae in Irish minced beef products

      Duffy, Geraldine; Cagney, Claire; Crowley, Helen; Sheridan, James J. (Teagasc, 2003-04)
      A surveillance study on prevalence and numbers of E . coli O157: H7 in minced beef (unpackaged or packaged) and beefburgers (frozen, fresh and unpackaged or packaged) was carried out over a period of 12 months in the Republic of Ireland. A total of 1533 products were tested with approximately 15 products collected from each of the 26 counties every 3 months. Mince and beefburgers were collected from both supermarkets and butcher shop outlets. A standard analysis was conducted by sample enrichment, IMS extraction and plating onto SMAC agar with confirmation by PCR. The results showed that 43 retail beef products (2.8 %) contained E .coli O157:H7. The number of E .coli O157: H7 in 21 of these samples ranged from log100.51 - 4.03 cfu g-1 ( i.e. 3 to 10,700 bacteria per gram) while in the remaining 22 the pathogen was detectable by enrichment only. There was a seasonal effect observed with 33 of 43 positive samples detected in January (n = 8), April /May(n=20) and August (n=5) and the remaining 10 positive samples detected over the other 8 months. Of the beef products testing positive, 32 were purchased from supermarkets and 11 from butcher shops. E .coli O157:H7 was recovered from 2.8% (13 / 457) of fresh packaged mince and from 1.88 % (3 / 160) of fresh unpackaged burgers purchased from butcher shops. Of the 43 isolates recovered, 41 contained the virulence genes v t1, v t2, E aeA and H lyA while the remaining 2 isolates contained only one of the vtproducing genes (v t1or v t2).