The Teagasc Food Programme focuses on quality, safety and food product innovation. It is undertaken in collaboration with universities and research institutes in Ireland, the European Union and the USA. The Food Programme is internationally competitive from a scientific point of view while being targeted and applied to generate new opportunities for the Irish food industry The Teagasc Food Programme encompasses many aspects of food science and technology: Food Processing and Functionality, Food Safety, Foods for Health, Food Cultures, Food Quality and Structure, Meat and Meat Products, Prepared Consumer Foods. The Food Programme is run from the Teagasc Food Research Centres at Ashtown, Dublin 14 and Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork

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  • Invited review: Whey proteins as antioxidants and promoters of cellular antioxidant pathways

    Corrochano, Alberto R.; Buckin, Vitaly; Kelly, Phil M.; Giblin, Linda; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 13 F 454; 13 F 454-WheyGSH (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2018-03-28)
    Oxidative stress contributes to cell injury and aggravates several chronic diseases. Dietary antioxidants help the body to fight against free radicals and, therefore, avoid or reduce oxidative stress. Recently, proteins from milk whey liquid have been described as antioxidants. This review summarizes the evidence that whey products exhibit radical scavenging activity and reducing power. It examines the processing and treatment attempts to increase the antioxidant bioactivity and identifies 1 enzyme, subtilisin, which consistently produces the most potent whey fractions. The review compares whey from different milk sources and puts whey proteins in the context of other known food antioxidants. However, for efficacy, the antioxidant activity of whey proteins must not only survive processing, but also upper gut transit and arrival in the bloodstream, if whey products are to promote antioxidant levels in target organs. Studies reveal that direct cell exposure to whey samples increases intracellular antioxidants such as glutathione. However, the physiological relevance of these in vitro assays is questionable, and evidence is conflicting from dietary intervention trials, with both rats and humans, that whey products can boost cellular antioxidant biomarkers.
  • Physiological Gut Oxygenation Alters GLP‐1 Secretion from the Enteroendocrine Cell Line STC‐1

    Kondrashina, Alina; Papkovsky, Dmitri; Giblin, Linda; Enterprise Ireland; TC20130001 (Wiley, 2017-09-29)
    1 Scope Enteroendocrine cell lines are routinely assayed in simple buffers at ≈20% oxygen to screen foods for bioactives that boost satiety hormone levels. However, in vivo, enteroendocrine cells are exposed to different phases of food digestion and function at low oxygen concentration, ranging from 7.5% in the stomach to 0.5% in the colon–rectal junction. 2 Methods and results The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of physiologically relevant O2 concentrations of the gut on the production and secretion of the satiety hormone, glucagon‐like peptide 1 (GLP‐1), from the murine enteroendocrine cell line, secretin tumor cell line (STC‐1), in response to dairy macronutrients as they transit the gut. GLP‐1 exocytosis from STC‐1 cells is influenced by both oxygen concentration and by individual macronutrients. At low oxygen, STC‐1 cell viability is significantly improved for all macronutrient stimulations and cyclic adenosine monophosphate levels are dampened. GLP‐1 secretion from STC‐1 cells is influenced by both the phase of yogurt digestion and corresponding O2 concentration. Atmospheric oxygen at 4.5% combined with upper gastric digesta, which simulates ileum conditions, yields the highest GLP‐1 response. 3 Conclusion This demonstrates the importance of considering physiological oxygen levels and food digestion along gastrointestinal tract for reliable in vitro analysis of gut hormone secretion.
  • Optimization of protein recovery from bovine lung by pH shift process using response surface methodology

    Lynch, Sarah A.; Alvarez, Carlos; O'Neill, Eileen E.; Keenan, Derek F.; Mullen, Anne Maria; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 11/F/043 (Wiley, 2017-09)
    BACKGROUND Response surface methodology (RSM) was used in a sequential manner to optimize solubilization and precipitation conditions in the recovery of protein from bovine lung using pH shift. RESULTS Separate D‐optimal designs were employed for protein solubilization and precipitation. Independent variables investigated for protein solubilization were time (10–120 min), temperature (4–20 °C), pH (8.0–11.0) and solvent/sample ratio (2.5–10). Variables for protein precipitation were time (0–60 min) and pH (4.25–6.00). Soluble protein yields ranged from 323 to 649 g kg−1 and the quadratic model for protein solubilization revealed a coefficient of determination R2 of 0.9958. Optimal conditions for maximum protein solubility were extraction time 140 min, temperature 19 °C, pH 10.8 and solvent/sample ratio 13.02. Protein precipitation yields varied from 407 to 667 g kg−1, giving a coefficient of determination R2 of 0.9335. Optimal conditions for maximum protein precipitation were pH 5.03 and 60 min. Based on the RSM model, solubilization conditions were manipulated to maximize protein solubilization under reduced water and alkaline usage. These conditions were also validated. CONCLUSION Models for solubilization and precipitation using bovine and porcine lung were validated; predicted and actual yields were in good agreement, showing cross‐species applicability of the results. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry
  • The eating quality of beef from young dairy bulls derived from two breed types at three ages from two different production systems

    Nian, Yingqun; Kerry, J. P.; Prendiville, Robert; Allen, Paul; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2017-07-08)
    Expansion of the Irish dairy herd has led to more dairy breed male calves being available for beef production. This study investigated the physico-chemical and sensory characteristics of beef from Holstein-Friesian (HF) and Jersey × HF (JEX) young bulls fed pasture grass only or pasture grass plus 2 kg concentrate during their first grazing season and slaughtered at 15, 19 or 22 mo of age. Longissimus thoracis (LT) muscles were collected from 67 carcasses. Postmortem pH, ultimate pH (pHu), meat colour, chemical composition, collagen content and solubility were evaluated. After ageing for 21 d, Warner-Bratzler shear force and cooking loss were determined, and assessments by a trained sensory panel were conducted. Meat from older animals was darker. The pHu, moisture and ash contents decreased, while residual roast beef flavour length increased with age. However, increasing age to slaughter did not negatively influence tenderness. JEX beef had lower cooking loss, was darker and redder, in addition to having higher sensory scores for initial tenderness and fattiness than HF beef. Warner-Bratzler variables were positively correlated with cooking loss and chewiness and were negatively correlated with intramuscular fat (IMF) content, soluble collagen and initial tenderness. In summary, most young dairy bull beef samples were acceptably tender after 21 d of ageing and half of them had acceptable IMF content. Slaughter age affected beef colour, pHu, chemical composition and flavour length. The eating quality of meat from the JEX breed type was considered to be superior to that of the HF breed type. Diet during the first season had no effect on meat quality traits.
  • Determination of Listeria monocytogenes numbers at less than 10 cfu/g

    Hunt, K.; Vacelet, M.; Jordan, Kieran; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Dairy Processing Technology Centre; 11/F/008; TC 2014 0016. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2017-06-09)
    Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that causes a relatively rare foodborne disease called listeriosis, with a high mortality rate of 20%-30% and an undefined dose response. Current European Union regulations permit up to 100 colony-forming units (cfu)/g in food at the end of its shelf life, where the food has been shown not to support the growth of this pathogenic bacterium. Therefore, enumeration of L. monocytogenes at low numbers in food is important. The objective of this study was to reduce the detection limit of L. monocytogenes in food by a factor of 10. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 11290-2 method for enumeration of L. monocytogenes in food recommends spreading 0.1 mL of a 1:10 dilution of the food on the surface of an agar plate (detection limit 100 cfu/g), or 1.0 mL spread in equal parts on the surface of three agar plates (detection limit: 10 cfu/g). The pour-plate method (using 1 or 10 mL of an appropriate dilution) was compared to the spread-plate method using the ISO-approved chromogenic medium Agar Listeria according to Ottaviani and Agosti (ALOA). Using the pour-plate method, the colony morphology and halo formation were similar to the spread-plate method from pure cultures and inoculated foods. Using the pour-plate method in a 140 mm Petri dish, 10 mL of a 1:10 dilution of food allowed determination of numbers as low as 1 cfu/g. Applying this method, L. monocytogenes in naturally contaminated food samples were enumerated at numbers as low as 1-9 cfu/g.
  • Sinapinic and protocatechuic acids found in rapeseed: isolation, characterisation and potential benefits for human health as functional food ingredients

    Quinn, Leah; Gray, Stephen G.; Meaney, Steven; Finn, Stephen; Kenny, Owen; Hayes, Maria (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2017-12-13)
    Rapeseed is one of the world’s major oilseeds, and rapeseed oil is produced by pressing of the seeds. This process results in the production of a low-economic-value by-product, rapeseed meal, which is commonly used as animal feed. Rapeseed meal is rich in bioactive phenolic compounds, including sinapinic acid (SA) and protocatechuic acid (PCA). Isolation of these bioactive compounds from a by-product of rapeseed oil production is largely in agreement with the current concept of the circular economy and total utilisation of crop harvest using a biorefinery approach. In this review, current information concerning traditional and novel methods to isolate phenolic compounds – including SA and PCA – from rapeseed meal, along with in vitro and in vivo studies concerning the bioactivity of SA and PCA and their associated health effects, is collated. These health effects include anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetes activities, along with histone deacetylase inhibition and protective cardiovascular, neurological and hepatic effects. The traditional extraction methods include use of solvents and/or enzymes. However, a need for simpler, more efficient methodologies has led to the development of novel extraction processes, including microwave-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, pulsed electric field and high-voltage electrical discharge extraction processes.
  • The effect of antimicrobials on verocytotoxin bacteriophage transduction under bovine rumen fluid and broth conditions

    Nyambe, Sepa; Burgess, Catherine; Whyte, P.; Bolton, Declan; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/F/051 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2017-11-15)
    The verocytotoxin genes in verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) are carried by bacteriophages, incorporated into the bacterial genome (prophage). Antibiotics may promote phage replication and release to infect other cells (transduction), thus leading to the emergence of new VTEC strains. This study investigated transduction of a verocytotoxin2-encoding bacteriophage (3538(vtx2::cat)) under laboratory conditions, including the effect of antibiotic treatments. Luria-Bertani Miller broth and rumen fluid (raw and sterilised by irradiation) were inoculated with the donor (C600φ3538(Δvtx2::cat)) and recipient (E. coli C600::kanamycinR) strains (4 log10 cfu/mL) and incubated at 38°C. Antibiotic treatments (minimal inhibitory and sub-inhibitory concentrations of ampicillin, cefquinome, oxytetracycline and sodium sulfamethazine) were applied after 3 h. Samples were tested for donor, recipient, cell-free phage and transductants at times t = 0, 3, 4, 6, 27 (24 h post-antibiotic treatment) and 51 h. Free phage was detected in the untreated broth and rumen samples, as were the transductants confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. The antibiotic treatments did not significantly (P > 0.01) increase the concentrations of free phage or transductants detected. It was therefore concluded that, under laboratory conditions, the antibiotics tested did not induce bacteriophage lysis, release and infection of new bacterial cells beyond that constitutively found in the phage population.
  • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

    Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O’Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. A; Ross, R. P; van Sinderen, Douwe; Stanton, Catherine; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; SFI/12/RC/2273; 10FDairy (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.
  • Effect of pre-treatment on the generation of dipeptidyl peptidase-IV- and prolyl endopeptidase-inhibitory hydrolysates from bovine lung

    Lafarga, T.; Hayes, Maria; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 11/F/043 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2017-05-25)
    The aim of this work was to study the effect of two different pre-treatments, high temperature (100 °C, 5 min) and high pressure (600 MPa, 3 min), on the potential of the enzymes papain, collagenase and Alcalase® to generate bioactive hydrolysates containing dipeptidyl peptidase-IV- (DPP-IV; EC 3.4.14.5) and prolyl endopeptidase- (PEP; EC 3.4.21.26) inhibitory peptides from bovine lung. Both pre-treatments resulted in an increase in the degree of hydrolysis over a 24 h period (P < 0.001) and significantly increased the DPP-IV- and PEP-inhibitory activities of the generated hydrolysates (P < 0.001). Generated hydrolysates included an Alcalase hydrolysate of pressure-treated bovine lung, which was the most active, and showed DPP-IV and PEP half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of 1.43 ± 0.06 and 3.62 ± 0.07 mg/ mL, respectively. The major peptides contained in this hydrolysate were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and results demonstrated that bovine lung is a good substrate for the release of bioactive peptides when proper pre-treatment and enzymatic treatment are applied.
  • Oral Delivery of Nisin in Resistant Starch Based Matrices Alters the Gut Microbiota in Mice

    Gough, Ronan; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; O'Connor, Paula M.; Crispie, Fiona; Brodkorb, Andre; Miao, Song; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Nilaweera, Kanishka N.; Rea, Mary C.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Science Foundation Ireland; BBSRC; Teagasc; 10/RD/TMFRC/701; 2012221; SFI/12/RC2273; SFI/16/BBSRC/3389; BB/P009875/1 (Frontiers, 2018-06-15)
    There is a growing recognition of the role the gastrointestinal microbiota plays in health and disease. Ingested antimicrobial proteins and peptides have the potential to alter the gastrointestinal microbiota; particularly if protected from digestion. Nisin is an antimicrobial peptide that is used as a food preservative. This study examined the ability of nisin to affect the murine microbiota when fed to mice in two different starch based matrices; a starch dough comprising raw starch granules and a starch gel comprising starch that was gelatinized and retrograded. The effects of the two starch matrices by themselves on the microbiota were also examined. Following 16S rRNA compositional sequencing, beta diversity analysis highlighted a significant difference (p = 0.001, n = 10) in the murine microbiota between the four diet groups. The differences between the two nisin containing diets were mainly attributable to differences in the nisin release from the starch matrices while the differences between the carriers were mainly attributable to the type of resistant starch they possessed. Indeed, the differences in the relative abundance of several genera in the mice consuming the starch dough and starch gel diets, in particular Akkermansia, the relative abundance of which was 0.5 and 11.9%, respectively (p = 0.0002, n = 10), points to the potential value of resistance starch as a modulator of beneficial gut microbes. Intact nisin and nisin digestion products (in particular nisin fragment 22–31) were detected in the feces and the nisin was biologically active. However, despite a three-fold greater consumption of nisin in the group fed the nisin in starch dough diet, twice as much nisin was detected in the feces of the group which consumed the nisin in starch gel diet. In addition, the relative abundance of three times as many genera from the lower gastrointestinal tract (GIT) were significantly different (p < 0.001, n = 10) to the control for the group fed the nisin in starch gel diet, implying that the starch gel afforded a degree of protection from digestion to the nisin entrapped within it.
  • Whey protein effects on energy balance link the intestinal mechanisms of energy absorption with adiposity and hypothalamic neuropeptide gene expression

    Nilaweera, Kanishka N.; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; Speakman, John R.; O'Conor, Paula M.; McAuliffe, AnnMarie; guinane, Catriona M.; Lawton, Elaine; Crispie, Fiona; Aguillera, Monica; Stanley, Maurice; Boscaini, Serena; Joyce, Susan; Melgar, Silvia; Cryan, John F.; Cotter, Paul D.; BBSRC; Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc; BB/P009875/1; SFI/16/BBSRC/3389 a; SFI/12/RC/2273 (American Physiological Society, 2017-06-19)
    We tested the hypothesis that dietary whey protein isolate (WPI) affects the intestinal mechanisms related to energy absorption and that the resulting energy deficit is compensated by changes in energy balance to support growth. C57BL/6 mice were provided a diet enriched with WPI with varied sucrose content, and the impact on energy balance-related parameters was investigated. As part of a high-sucrose diet, WPI reduced the hypothalamic expression of pro-opiomelanocortin gene expression and increased energy intake. The energy expenditure was unaffected, but epididymal weight was reduced, indicating an energy loss. Notably, there was a reduction in the ileum gene expression for amino acid transporter SLC6a19, glucose transporter 2, and fatty acid transporter 4. The composition of the gut microbiota also changed, where Firmicutes were reduced. The above changes indicated reduced energy absorption through the intestine. We propose that this mobilized energy in the adipose tissue and caused hypothalamic changes that increased energy intake, acting to counteract the energy deficit arising in the intestine. Lowering the sucrose content in the WPI diet increased energy expenditure. This further reduced epididymal weight and plasma leptin, whereupon hypothalamic ghrelin gene expression and the intestinal weight were both increased. These data suggest that when the intestine-adipose-hypothalamic pathway is subjected to an additional energy loss (now in the adipose tissue), compensatory changes attempt to assimilate more energy. Notably, WPI and sucrose content interact to enable the component mechanisms of this pathway.
  • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

    Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O’Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. A; Ross, R. P; van Sinderen, Douwe; Stanton, Catherine; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; SFI/12/RC/2273; 10FDairy (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.
  • Gene-trait matching across the Bifidobacterium longum pan-genome reveals considerable diversity in carbohydrate catabolism among human infant strains

    Arboleya, Silvia; Bottacini, Francesca; O’Connell-Motherway, Mary; Ryan, C. A; Ross, R. P; van Sinderen, Douwe; Stanton, Catherine; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; SFI/12/RC/2273; 10FDairy (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)

    Troy, Declan; Tiwari, Brijesh; Hayes, Maria; Ross, R. Paul; Stanton, Catherine; Johnson, Mark; Stengel, Dagmar; O'Doherty, John V.; Fitzgerald, Richard J.; McSorley, Emeir; Kerry, Joseph; Marine Institute; MFFRI/07/01 (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

    Golubeva, Anna B.; Joyce, Susan A.; Moloney, Gerard; Burokas, Aurelijus; Sherwin, Eoin; Arboyelaya, Silvia; Flynn, Ian; Khochanskiy, Dmitry; Pérez, Angela M.; Peterson, Veronica; REa, Kieran; MUrphy, Kiera; Makarova, Olga; Buravkov, Sergey; Hyland, Niall P.; Stanton, Catherine; Clarke, Gerard; Gahan, Cormac G>M>; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273 (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.
  • Bile acids at the cross-roads of gut microbiome–host cardiometabolic interactions

    Ryan, Paul M; Stanton, Catherine; Caplice, Noel M; Science Foundation Ireland; Enterprise Ireland Commercialization Fund; SFI/12/RC/2273; CF/2013/3030A/B (Biomed Central, 2017-12-28)
    While basic and clinical research over the last several decades has recognized a number of modifiable risk factors associated with cardiometabolic disease progression, additional and alternative biological perspectives may offer novel targets for prevention and treatment of this disease set. There is mounting preclinical and emerging clinical evidence indicating that the mass of metabolically diverse microorganisms which inhabit the human gastrointestinal tract may be implicated in initiation and modulation of cardiovascular and metabolic disease outcomes. The following review will discuss this gut microbiome–host metabolism axis and address newly proposed bile-mediated signaling pathways through which dysregulation of this homeostatic axis may influence host cardiovascular risk. With a central focus on the major nuclear and membrane-bound bile acid receptor ligands, we aim to review the putative impact of microbial bile acid modification on several major phenotypes of metabolic syndrome, from obesity to heart failure. Finally, attempting to synthesize several separate but complementary hypotheses, we will review current directions in preclinical and clinical investigation in this evolving field.
  • A Review on the Applications of Next Generation Sequencing Technologies as Applied to Food-Related Microbiome Studies

    CaoYu; Fanning, Seamus; Proos, Sinead; Jordan, Kieran; Srikumar, Shabarinath; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; SMART-PIF; 13/F/423 (Frontiers, 2017)
    The development of next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques has enabled researchers to study and understand the world of microorganisms from broader and deeper perspectives. The contemporary advances in DNA sequencing technologies have not only enabled finer characterization of bacterial genomes but also provided deeper taxonomic identification of complex microbiomes which in its genomic essence is the combined genetic material of the microorganisms inhabiting an environment, whether the environment be a particular body econiche (e.g., human intestinal contents) or a food manufacturing facility econiche (e.g., floor drain). To date, 16S rDNA sequencing, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics are the three basic sequencing strategies used in the taxonomic identification and characterization of food-related microbiomes. These sequencing strategies have used different NGS platforms for DNA and RNA sequence identification. Traditionally, 16S rDNA sequencing has played a key role in understanding the taxonomic composition of a food-related microbiome. Recently, metagenomic approaches have resulted in improved understanding of a microbiome by providing a species-level/strain-level characterization. Further, metatranscriptomic approaches have contributed to the functional characterization of the complex interactions between different microbial communities within a single microbiome. Many studies have highlighted the use of NGS techniques in investigating the microbiome of fermented foods. However, the utilization of NGS techniques in studying the microbiome of non-fermented foods are limited. This review provides a brief overview of the advances in DNA sequencing chemistries as the technology progressed from first, next and third generations and highlights how NGS provided a deeper understanding of food-related microbiomes with special focus on non-fermented foods.
  • Stabilising effect of α-lactalbumin on concentrated infant milk formula emulsions heat treated pre- or post-homogenisation

    Buggy, Aoife K.; McManus, Jenifer J.; Brodkorb, Andre; McCarthy, Noel; Fenelon, Mark A. (Springer, 2016-11-22)
    Protein type and/or heat treatment pre- or post-homogenisation can affect the physical stability of infant formulations during manufacture. Previous research has described the use of α-lactalbumin addition in infant formulae, but has not demonstrated the effect of heating pre- or post-emulsion formulation during processing. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of both of these parameters. Three batches of model 1st-stage infant formula containing differing whey protein ratios (60:40 whey: casein with α-lactalbumin content 12, 30 or 48% of total protein) were prepared. Each batch was split; one half receiving heat treatment pre-homogenisation and the second half homogenised and then heat treated. Emulsion stability was determined by size exclusion chromatography, SDS-PAGE, particle size and viscosity measurements. There was a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in the formation of large soluble aggregates upon increasing α-lac concentration in emulsions heat treated either before or after homogenisation. Heat treatment of formulations post-homogenisation resulted in a higher (P < 0.05) D.v09 within the particle size distribution; increasing α-lactalbumin concentration to 30 or 48% significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the D.v09 within the particle size distribution in these emulsions. The viscosity of concentrates (55 % total solids) containing the 12% α-lactalbumin, heat treated post-homogenisation, was significantly greater (P < 0.05) than the equivalent emulsion heat treated pre-homogenisation; increasing the α-lactalbumin concentration to 30 or 48% significantly (P < 0.05) reduced viscosity. When the α-lactalbumin content was increased to 48% as a percentage of the total protein, heating before or after emulsion formation had no effect on concentrate viscosity. The findings demonstrate the importance of thermal denaturation/aggregation of whey proteins (and in particular, the ratio of α-lactalbumin to β-lactoglobulin) prior to homogenisation of infant formula emulsions.
  • Insights into the Mode of Action of the Sactibiotic Thuricin CD

    Mathur, Harsh; Fallico, Vicenzo; O'Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary C.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul (Frontiers, 2017-04-20)
    Thuricin CD is a two-component bacteriocin, consisting of the peptides Trnα and Trnβ, and belongs to the newly designated sactibiotic subclass of bacteriocins. While it is clear from studies conducted thus far that it is a narrow-spectrum bacteriocin, requiring the synergistic activity of the two peptides, the precise mechanism of action of thuricin CD has not been elucidated. This study used a combination of flow cytometry and traditional culture-dependent assays to ascertain the effects of the thuricin CD peptides on the morphology, physiology and viability of sensitive Bacillus firmus DPC6349 cells. We show that both Trnα and Trnβ are membrane-acting and cause a collapse of the membrane potential, which could not be reversed even under membrane-repolarizing conditions. Furthermore, the depolarizing action of thuricin CD is accompanied by reductions in cell size and granularity, producing a pattern of physiological alterations in DPC6349 cells similar to those triggered by the pore-forming single-component bacteriocin Nisin A, and two-component lacticin 3147. Taken together, these results lead us to postulate that the lytic activity of thuricin CD involves the insertion of thuricin CD peptides into the membrane of target cells leading to permeabilization due to pore formation and consequent flux of ions across the membrane, resulting in membrane depolarization and eventual cell death.
  • Genome-wide association analysis and functional annotation of positional candidate genes for feed conversion efficiency and growth rate in pigs

    Horodyska, Justyna; Hamill, Ruth M.; Varley, Patrick F.; Wimmers, Klaus (PLOS, 2017-06-12)
    Feed conversion efficiency is a measure of how well an animal converts feed into live weight and it is typically expressed as feed conversion ratio (FCR). FCR and related traits like growth rate (e.g. days to 110 kg—D110) are of high interest for animal breeders, farmers and society due to implications on animal performance, feeding costs and environmental sustainability. The objective of this study was to identify genomic regions associated with FCR and D110 in pigs. A total of 952 terminal line boars, showing an individual variation in FCR, were genotyped using 60K SNP-Chips. Markers were tested for associations with estimated breeding values (EBV) for FCR and D110. For FCR, the largest number of associated SNPs was located on chromosomes 4 (30 SNPs), 1 (25 SNPs), X (15 SNPs) and 6 (12 SNPs). The most prominent genomic regions for D110 were identified on chromosomes 15 (10 SNPs), 1 and 4 (both 9 SNPs). The most significantly associated SNPs for FCR and D110 mapped 129.8 Kb from METTL11B (chromosome 4) and 32Kb from MBD5 (chromosome 15), respectively. A list of positional genes, closest to significantly associated SNPs, was used to identify enriched pathways and biological functions related to the QTL for both traits. A number of candidate genes were significantly overrepresented in pathways of immune cell trafficking, lymphoid tissue structure, organ morphology, endocrine system function, lipid metabolism, and energy production. After resequencing the coding region of selected positional and functional candidate genes, six SNPs were genotyped in a subset of boars. SNPs in PRKDC, SELL, NR2E1 and AKRIC3 showed significant associations with EBVs for FCR/D110. The study revealed a number of chromosomal regions and candidate genes affecting FCR/D110 and pointed to corresponding biological pathways related to lipid metabolism, olfactory reception, and also immunological status.

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