Recent Submissions

  • A note on the Hybrid Soil Moisture Deficit Model v2.0

    Schulte, Rogier P. O.; Simo, Iolando; Creamer, Rachel E.; Holden, Nicholas M. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
    The Hybrid Soil Moisture Deficit (HSMD) model has been used for a wide range of applications, including modelling of grassland productivity and utilisation, assessment of agricultural management opportunities such as slurry spreading, predicting nutrient emissions to the environment and risks of pathogen transfer to water. In the decade since its publication, various ad hoc modifications have been developed and the recent publication of the Irish Soil Information System has facilitated improved assessment of the spatial soil moisture dynamics. In this short note, we formally present a new version of the model (HSMD2.0), which includes two new soil drainage classes, as well as an optional module to account for the topographic wetness index at any location. In addition, we present a new Indicative Soil Drainage Map for Ireland, based on the Irish Soil Classification system, developed as part of the Irish Soil Information System.
  • A note on challenge trials to determine the growth of Listeria monocytogenes on mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)

    Leong, Dara; Alvarez-Ordonez, Avelino; Jordan, Kieran (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
    In the EU, food is considered safe with regard to Listeria monocytogenes if the number of micro-organisms does not exceed 100 colony forming units (cfu)/g throughout its shelf-life. Therefore, it is important to determine if a food supports growth of L. monocytogenes. Guidelines for conducting challenge tests for growth assessment of L. monocytogenes on foods were published by the European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) in 2014. The aim of this study was to use these guidelines to determine if refrigerated, fresh, whole, closed-cap, prepackaged mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) support the growth of L. monocytogenes. Three batches of mushrooms were artificially inoculated at approximately 100 cfu/g with a three-strain mix of L. monocytogenes and incubated for 2 days at 8°C followed by 4 days at 12°C. L. monocytogenes numbers were determined (in triplicate for each batch) on days 0, 2 and 6. Water activity, pH and total bacterial counts were also determined. There was no increase in the number of L. monocytogenes above the threshold of 0.5 log cfu/g in any of the replicates. In 8 of 9 replicates, the numbers decreased indicating that A. bisporus do not support the growth of L. monocytogenes. As the EU regulations allow < 100 cfu/g if the food cannot support growth of L. monocytogenes, the significance of this study is that mushrooms with < 100 cfu/g may be within the regulations and therefore, quantitative rather than qualitative determination may be required.
  • The response of sward-dwelling arthropod communities to reduced grassland management intensity in pastures

    Helden, Alvin J.; Anderson, Annette; Finn, John; Purvis, Gordon (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
    We compared arthropod taxon richness, diversity and community structure of two replicated grassland husbandry experiments to investigate effects of reduced management intensity, as measured by nutrient input levels (390, 224 and 0 kg/ha per year N in one experiment, and 225 and 88 kg/ha per year N in another). Suction sampling was used to collect Araneae, Coleoptera, Hemiptera and Hymenoptera, with Araneae and Coleoptera also sampled with pitfall trapping. Univariate analyses found no significant differences in abundance and species density between treatments. However, with multivariate analysis, there were significant differences in arthropod community structure between treatments in both experiments. Reducing N input and associated stocking rates, as targeted by agri-environment schemes, can significantly alter arthropod communities but without increasing the number of species present. Other approaches that may be necessary to achieve substantial enhancement of sward arthropod biodiversity are suggested.
  • Distribution and incidence of viruses in Irish seed potato crops

    Hutton, Fiona; Spink, John H.; Griffin, Denis; Kildea, Stephen; Bonner, D.; Doherty, G.; Hunter, A. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
    Virus diseases are of key importance in potato production and in particular for the production of disease-free potato seed. However, there is little known about the frequency and distribution of potato virus diseases in Ireland. Despite a large number of samples being tested each year, the data has never been collated either within or across years. Information from all known potato virus testing carried out in the years 2006–2012 by the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine was collated to give an indication of the distribution and incidence of potato virus in Ireland. It was found that there was significant variation between regions, varieties, years and seed classes. A definition of daily weather data suitable for aphid flight was developed, which accounted for a significant proportion of the variation in virus incidence between years. This use of weather data to predict virus risk could be developed to form the basis of an integrated pest management approach for aphid control in Irish potato crops.
  • Mycotoxin occurrence on baled and pit silages collected in Co. Meath

    McElhinney, C.; Danaher, Martin; Elliott, C.; O'Kiely, Padraig (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
    Recent studies of baled silages produced in Ireland have identified considerable filamentous fungal contamination. Many of these fungi are toxigenic, capable of producing secondary metabolites, namely mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are potentially detrimental to livestock health and some can pose a risk to consumers of animal products. Baled (n=20) and pit (n=18) silages from a sample of farms (n=38) in Co. Meath were examined to assess the occurrence of mycotoxins and ascertain whether sampling position within the pit silos (feed face vs. 3 m behind the feed face) has an effect on mycotoxin content or other chemical compositional variables. Of the 20 mycotoxins assayed, baled silages contained [mean of positive values (no. of values in mean)] mycotoxin concentrations (μg/kg dry matter) of beauvericin 36 (2), enniatin (enn.) A 9.3 (3), enn. A1 54 (8), enn. B 351 (9), enn. B1 136 (10), mycophenolic acid (MPA) 11,157 (8) and roquefortine C (Roq. C) 1037 (8) and pit silages contained beauvericin 25 (2) enn. A1 18 (2), enn. B 194 (9), enn. B1 57 (3), MPA 287 (6), Roq. C 3649 (6) and zearalenone 76 (1). There was no difference (P>0.05) observed in the mycotoxin concentrations between baled and pit silages, and 11 of the 20 mycotoxins assayed were below the limits of detection. The position of sampling had no effect on the mycotoxin concentration detected in pit silages. It is concluded that mycotoxin concentrations detected in these pit and baled silages in Co. Meath did not exceed EU regulation or guidance limits, and that similar chemical composition and mycotoxin concentration values occurred at the pit silage feed face and 3 m behind this feed face.
  • 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.
  • Mixing sweet cream buttermilk with whole milk to produce cream cheese

    Bahrami, Masoud; Ahmadi, Dariush; Beigmohammad, Faranak; Hosseini, Fakhrisadat (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
    Buttermilk is an important by-product of the manufacture of butter. Sweet-cream buttermilk (SCBM) is similar in composition to skim milk, except for its high phospholipid and milk fat globular membrane protein content. The main objective of this investigation was to produce optimum quality cream cheese by replacing whole milk with different proportions of SCBM (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50%). Statistical analysis showed that there were significant differences (p < 0.05) between the chemical and organoleptic properties of the samples. As the percentage of SCBM increased, the chemical composition of total solids, fat, protein, fat in dry matter (FDM) and ash of cheese milk decreased significantly, leading to a softer, moister curd. Samples prepared with more than 25% SCBM were not acceptable to the taste panel. The cream cheeses prepared using 25% and 30% SCBM had the highest yields. Total solids and FDM were strong predictors of cheese yield (r2 ≈ 0.589). The results also showed that the best range for replacement using SCBM is 20–25%.