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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Recent Submissions

  • A Review on the Applications of Next Generation Sequencing Technologies as Applied to Food-Related Microbiome Studies

    Cao, Yu; Fanning, Séamus; Proos, Sinéad; Jordan, Kieran; Srikumar, Shabarinath; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; Enterprise Ireland; 13/F/423; IP 2015 0380 (Frontiers, 2017-09-21)
    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.
  • Editorial: Microbial Food Safety along the Dairy Chain

    Fox, Edward M.; Fanning, Seamus; Corsetti, Aldo; Jordan, Kieran (Frontiers, 2017-08-23)
    Milk is susceptible to contamination with pathogenic and spoilage organisms and, therefore, Microbial food safety along the dairy chain is an important topic, from public health and industry perspectives. The dairy chain is an integral part of global food supply, with dairy food products a staple component of recommended healthy diets. The dairy food chain from production through to the consumer is complex, with various opportunities for microbial contamination of ingredients or food products, and as such interventions are key to preventing or controlling such contamination. Dairy foods often include a microbial control step in their production such as pasteurization, but in some cases may not, as with raw milk products. Microbial contamination may lead to a deterioration in food quality due to spoilage organisms, or may become a health risk to consumers should the contaminant be a pathogenic microorganism. As such food safety and food production are intrinsically linked.
  • Novel “gel demineralizing” method for protein recovery from fat rendering waste stream based on its gelling properties

    Álvarez, Carlos; Drummond, Liana; Mullen, Anne Maria (Elsevier, 2018-11)
    Fat rendering is a common process in the meat industry, whereby fatty or oily materials are melted away or cooked from the solid portion of the animal tissue. Once the fat, and more solid protein in the form of greaves, has been removed a co-product called glue water or stick water is produced which in generally considered a waste product. This study was established to investigate ways to revalorise this product and reduce the economic and environmental impact of this waste material. Proximate characterisation shows it contains 1.1–1.3% w/w of protein along with similar concentration of ashes (1.3% w/w). While low in protein this is a key pollutant if the product is disposed of, and could also represent an interesting protein source for downstream applications. In order to recover these proteins the salt has to be removed. Therefore, after the techno-functional properties of the raw material and of the recovered proteins were evaluated, especially those related to gelling formation, a new demineralizing method based on the excellent gelling properties of these proteins was developed and results compared with those obtained from three different ultrafiltration membranes (10, 3 and 1 kDa MWCO). Protein recovery was greater for the new method (79–90%) (50–77%); however, the amount of salt removed was higher when ultrafiltration was employed (90% compared to 81%).
  • Effect of human chorionic gonadotrophin administration 2 days after insemination on progesterone concentration and pregnancy per artificial insemination in lactating dairy cows

    Sánchez, J. M.; Randi, F.; Passaro, C.; Mathew, D. J.; Butler, S. T.; Lonergan, P.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S528 (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2018-03-28)
    The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a single administration of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) during the establishment of the corpus luteum (CL) on progesterone (P4) concentration and pregnancy per artificial insemination (P/AI) in lactating dairy cows. Postpartum spring-calving lactating dairy cows (n = 800; mean ± SD days in milk and parity were 78.5 ± 16.7 and 2.3 ± 0.8, respectively) on 3 farms were enrolled on the study. All cows underwent the same fixed-time AI (FTAI) protocol involving a 7-d progesterone-releasing intravaginal device with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) administration at device insertion, prostaglandin at device removal followed by GnRH 56 h later, and AI 16 h after the second GnRH injection. Cows were blocked on days postpartum, body condition score, and parity and randomly assigned to receive either 3,000 IU of hCG 2 d after FTAI or no further treatment (control). Blood samples were collected on d 7 and 14 postestrus by coccygeal venipuncture on a subset of 204 cows to measure serum P4 concentration, and pregnancy was diagnosed by ultrasonography approximately 30 and 70 d after FTAI. Administration of hCG caused an increase in circulating P4 concentrations compared with the control treatment on d 7 (+22.2%) and d 14 (+25.7%). The P/AI at 30 d after FTAI was affected by treatment, farm, body condition score, and calving to service interval. Overall, administration of hCG decreased P/AI (46.3% vs. 55.1% for the control). Among cows that did not become pregnant following AI, a greater proportion of control cows exhibited a short repeat interval (≤17 d) compared with cows treated with hCG (8.6% vs. 2.8%, respectively). In addition, the percentages of cows pregnant at d 21 (59.6% vs. 52.0%) and d 42 (78.3% vs. 71.9%) were greater in control than in hCG-treated cows. The overall incidence of embryo loss was 10.7% and was not affected by treatment. There was a tendency for an interaction between treatment and CL status at synchronization protocol initiation for both P4 concentration and P/AI. In conclusion, administration of hCG 2 d after FTAI increased circulating P4 concentrations. Unexpectedly, cows treated with hCG had lower fertility; however, this negative effect on fertility was manifested primarily in cows lacking a CL at the onset of the synchronization protocol.
  • RNA-seq of muscle from pigs divergent in feed efficiency and product quality identifies differences in immune response, growth, and macronutrient and connective tissue metabolism

    Horodyska, Justyna; Wimmers, Klaus; Reyer, Henry; Trakooljul, Nares; Mullen, Anne Maria; Lawlor, Peadar G; Hamill, Ruth M; European Union; 311794 (Biomed Central, 2018-11-01)
    Background Feed efficiency (FE) is an indicator of efficiency in converting energy and nutrients from feed into a tissue that is of major environmental and economic significance. The molecular mechanisms contributing to differences in FE are not fully elucidated, therefore the objective of this study was to profile the porcine Longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) muscle transcriptome, examine the product quality from pigs divergent in FE and investigate the functional networks underpinning the potential relationship between product quality and FE. Results RNA-Seq (n = 16) and product quality (n = 40) analysis were carried out in the LTL of pigs differing in FE status. A total of 272 annotated genes were differentially expressed with a P < 0.01. Functional annotation revealed a number of biological events related to immune response, growth, carbohydrate & lipid metabolism and connective tissue indicating that these might be the key mechanisms governing differences in FE. Five most significant bio-functions altered in FE groups were ‘haematological system development & function’, ‘lymphoid tissue structure & development’, ‘tissue morphology’, ‘cellular movement’ and ‘immune cell trafficking’. Top significant canonical pathways represented among the differentially expressed genes included ‘IL-8 signalling’, ‘leukocyte extravasation signalling, ‘sphingosine-1-phosphate signalling’, ‘PKCθ signalling in T lymphocytes’ and ‘fMLP signalling in neutrophils’. A minor impairment in the quality of meat, in relation to texture and water-holding capacity, produced by high-FE pigs was observed. High-FE pigs also had reduced intramuscular fat content and improved nutritional profile in terms of fatty acid composition. Conclusions Ontology analysis revealed enhanced activity of adaptive immunity and phagocytes in high-FE pigs suggesting more efficient conserving of resources, which can be utilised for other important biological processes. Shifts in carbohydrate conversion into glucose in FE-divergent muscle may underpin the divergent evolution of pH profile in meat from the FE-groups. Moreover, altered amino acid metabolism and increased mobilisation & flux of calcium may influence growth in FE-divergent muscle. Furthermore, decreased degradation of fibroblasts in FE-divergent muscle could impact on collagen turnover and alter tenderness of meat, whilst enhanced lipid degradation in high-FE pigs may potentially underlie a more efficient fat metabolism in these animals.
  • Complete Genome Sequence of Clostridium estertheticum DSM 8809, a Microbe Identified in Spoiled Vacuum Packed Beef

    Yu, Zhongyi; Gunn, Lynda; Brennan, Evan; Reid, Rachael; Wall, Patrick G.; Gaora, Peadar O.; Hurley, Daniel; Bolton, Declan; Fanning, Séamus; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Ireland) (Frontiers, 2016-11-11)
    Blown pack spoilage (BPS) is a major issue for the beef industry. Etiological agents of BPS involve members of a group of Clostridium species, including Clostridium estertheticum which has the ability to produce gas, mostly carbon dioxide, under anaerobic psychotrophic growth conditions. This spore-forming bacterium grows slowly under laboratory conditions, and it can take up to 3 months to produce a workable culture. These characteristics have limited the study of this commercially challenging bacterium. Consequently information on this bacterium is limited and no effective controls are currently available to confidently detect and manage this production risk. In this study the complete genome of C. estertheticum DSM 8809 was determined by SMRT® sequencing. The genome consists of a circular chromosome of 4.7 Mbp along with a single plasmid carrying a potential tellurite resistance gene tehB and a Tn3-like resolvase-encoding gene tnpR. The genome sequence was searched for central metabolic pathways that would support its biochemical profile and several enzymes contributing to this phenotype were identified. Several putative antibiotic/biocide/metal resistance-encoding genes and virulence factors were also identified in the genome, a feature that requires further research. The availability of the genome sequence will provide a basic blueprint from which to develop valuable biomarkers that could support and improve the detection and control of this bacterium along the beef production chain.
  • The Proportion of Fermented Milk in Dehydrated Fermented Milk–Parboiled Wheat Composites Significantly Affects Their Composition, Pasting Behaviour, and Flow Properties on Reconstitution

    Shevade, Ashwini V.; O’Callaghan, Yvonne C.; O’Brien, Nora M.; O’Connor, Tom P.; Guinee, Timothy P.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/F/805 (MDPI, 2018-07-14)
    Dairy and cereal are frequently combined to create composite foods with enhanced nutritional benefits. Dehydrated fermented milk–wheat composites (FMWC) were prepared by blending fermented milk (FM) and parboiled wheat (W), incubating at 35 °C for 24 h, drying at 46 °C for 48 h, and milling to 1 mm. Increasing the weight ratio of FM to W from 1.5 to 4.0 resulted in reductions in total solids (from 96 to 92%) and starch (from 52 to 39%), and increases in protein (15.2–18.9%), fat (3.7–5.9%), lactose (6.4–11.4%), and lactic acid (2.7–4.2%). FMWC need to be reconstituted prior to consumption. The water-holding capacity, pasting viscosity, and setback viscosity of the reconstituted FMWC (16.7% total solids) decreased with the ratio of FM to W. The reconstituted FMWC exhibited pseudoplastic flow behaviour on shearing from 18 to 120 s−1. Increasing the FM:W ratio coincided with a lower yield stress, consistency index, and viscosity at 120 s−1. The results demonstrate the critical impact of the FM:W ratio on the composition, pasting behavior, and consistency of the reconstituted FMWC. The difference in consistency associated with varying the FM:W ratio is likely to impact on satiety and nutrient value of the FMWCs.
  • Microbial Succession and Flavor Production in the Fermented Dairy Beverage Kefir

    Walsh, Aaron M.; Crispie, Fiona; Kilcawley, Kieran N.; O’Sullivan, Orla; O’Sullivan, Maurice G.; Claesson, Marcus J.; Cottera, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; SFI/11/PI/1137; SFI/13/SIRG/2160 (2018-11-05)
    Kefir is a putatively health-promoting dairy beverage that is produced when a kefir grain, consisting of a consortium of microorganisms, is added to milk to initiate a natural fermentation. Here, a detailed analysis was carried out to determine how the microbial population, gene content, and flavor of three kefirs from distinct geographic locations change over the course of 24-h fermentations. Metagenomic sequencing revealed that Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens was the dominant bacterial species in kefir during early stages of fermentations but that Leuconostoc mesenteroides became more prevalent in later stages. This pattern is consistent with an observation that genes involved in aromatic amino acid biosynthesis were absent from L. kefiranofaciens but were present in L. mesenteroides. Additionally, these shifts in the microbial community structure, and associated pathways, corresponded to changes in the levels of volatile compounds. Specifically, Acetobacter spp. correlated with acetic acid; Lactobacillus spp. correlated with carboxylic acids, esters and ketones; Leuconostoc spp. correlated with acetic acid and 2,3-butanedione; and Saccharomyces spp. correlated with esters. The correlation data suggest a causal relationship between microbial taxa and flavor that is supported by observations that addition of L. kefiranofaciens NCFB 2797 increased the levels of esters and ketones whereas addition of L. mesenteroides 213M0 increased the levels of acetic acid and 2,3-butanedione. Finally, we detected genes associated with probiotic functionalities in the kefir microbiome. Our results illustrate the dynamic nature of kefir fermentations and microbial succession patterns therein and can be applied to optimize the fermentation processes, flavors, and health-related attributes of this and other fermented foods. IMPORTANCE Traditional fermented foods represent relatively low-complexity microbial environments that can be used as model microbial communities to understand how microbes interact in natural environments. Our results illustrate the dynamic nature of kefir fermentations and microbial succession patterns therein. In the process, the link between individual species, and associated pathways, with flavor compounds is revealed and several genes that could be responsible for the purported gut health-associated benefits of consuming kefir are identified. Ultimately, in addition to providing an important fundamental insight into microbial interactions, this information can be applied to optimize the fermentation processes, flavors, and health-related attributes of this and other fermented foods.
  • Genome Sequence of Geobacillus stearothermophilus DSM 458, an Antimicrobial-Producing Thermophyllic Bacterium, Isolated from a Sugar Beet Factory

    Egan, Kevin; Kelleher, Philip; Field, Des; Rea, Mary C.; Ross, R. Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; DAFM 13/F/462; SFI/12/RC/2273; SFI/11/PI/1137; SFI/10/IN.1/B3027 (American Society for Microbiology, 2017-10-26)
    This paper reports the full genome sequence of the antimicrobial-producing bacterium Geobacillus stearothermophilus DSM 458, isolated in a sugar beet factory in Austria. In silico analysis reveals the presence of a number of novel bacteriocin biosynthetic genes.
  • Improved emulsion stability and modified nutrient release by structuring O/W emulsions using konjac glucomannan

    Lu, Wei; Zheng, Baodong; Miao, Song; National Natural Science Foundation of China; China Scholarship Council; 31628016; 201508300001 (Elsevier, 2018-02-22)
    Functional konjac glucomannan (KGM) was used to structure the water phase of O/W emulsions containing a lipophilic bioactive compound (β-carotene). KGM greatly increased the viscosity of the water phase and thus the viscosity of final emulsions. Results of Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) showed that there is no significant non-covalent interaction between KGM and whey proteins in the water phase. KGM significantly improved the creaming and pH stability of whey-protein-stabilized emulsions (p < 0.05), and significantly decreased the oiling-off of emulsions during freeze-thaw test. Emulsions with or without KGM all had good thermal stability at 80 °C. Microscopy observations indicated obvious aggregation of free proteins and oil droplets in gastric phase and an enzymatic-induced break-down of droplets, mainly in the intestinal phase of the simulated gastrointestinal tract (GIT) digestion. Emulsions with KGM-structured water phase showed a lower final release rate of encapsulated β-carotene than emulsion without KGM (p < 0.05), and the release rate decreased with the increasing KGM content. The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of the influence of the water phase on the release of encapsulated compounds from emulsions, and make it possible to achieve controlled release of encapsulated compounds, and/or to deliver multiple health-beneficial nutrients at once by structuring emulsion-based carriers with functional natural biopolymers.
  • Sequencing of the Cheese Microbiome and Its Relevance to Industry

    Yeluri Jonnala, Bhagya. R.; McSweeney, Paul L. H.; Sheehan, Jeremiah J.; Cotter, Paul D.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Frontiers, 2018-05-23)
    The microbiota of cheese plays a key role in determining its organoleptic and other physico-chemical properties. It is essential to understand the various contributions, positive or negative, of these microbial components in order to promote the growth of desirable taxa and, thus, characteristics. The recent application of high throughput DNA sequencing (HTS) facilitates an even more accurate identification of these microbes, and their functional properties, and has the potential to reveal those microbes, and associated pathways, responsible for favorable or unfavorable characteristics. This technology also facilitates a detailed analysis of the composition and functional potential of the microbiota of milk, curd, whey, mixed starters, processing environments, and how these contribute to the final cheese microbiota, and associated characteristics. Ultimately, this information can be harnessed by producers to optimize the quality, safety, and commercial value of their products. In this review we highlight a number of key studies in which HTS was employed to study the cheese microbiota, and pay particular attention to those of greatest relevance to industry.
  • Virulence Gene Sequencing Highlights Similarities and Differences in Sequences in Listeria monocytogenes Serotype 1/2a and 4b Strains of Clinical and Food Origin From 3 Different Geographic Locations

    Poimenidou, Sofia V.; Dalmasso, Marion; Papadimitriou, Konstantinos; Fox, Edward M.; Skandamis, Panagiotis N.; Jordan, Kieran; European Union; 265877 (Frontiers, 2018-06-05)
    The prfA-virulence gene cluster (pVGC) is the main pathogenicity island in Listeria monocytogenes, comprising the prfA, plcA, hly, mpl, actA, and plcB genes. In this study, the pVGC of 36 L. monocytogenes isolates with respect to different serotypes (1/2a or 4b), geographical origin (Australia, Greece or Ireland) and isolation source (food-associated or clinical) was characterized. The most conserved genes were prfA and hly, with the lowest nucleotide diversity (π) among all genes (P < 0.05), and the lowest number of alleles, substitutions and non-synonymous substitutions for prfA. Conversely, the most diverse gene was actA, which presented the highest number of alleles (n = 20) and showed the highest nucleotide diversity. Grouping by serotype had a significantly lower π value (P < 0.0001) compared to isolation source or geographical origin, suggesting a distinct and well-defined unit compared to other groupings. Among all tested genes, only hly and mpl were those with lower nucleotide diversity in 1/2a serotype than 4b serotype, reflecting a high within-1/2a serotype divergence compared to 4b serotype. Geographical divergence was noted with respect to the hly gene, where serotype 4b Irish strains were distinct from Greek and Australian strains. Australian strains showed less diversity in plcB and mpl relative to Irish or Greek strains. Notable differences regarding sequence mutations were identified between food-associated and clinical isolates in prfA, actA, and plcB sequences. Overall, these results indicate that virulence genes follow different evolutionary pathways, which are affected by a strain's origin and serotype and may influence virulence and/or epidemiological dominance of certain subgroups.
  • Oral Delivery of Nisin in Resistant Starch Based Matrices Alters the Gut Microbiota in Mice

    Gough, Ronan; Cabrera Rubio, Raúl; 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; UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; 10/RD/TMFRC/701; 2012221; SFI/12/RC2273; SFI/16/BBSRC/3389; BB/P009875 (Frontiers, 15/06/2018)
    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 asmany genera fromthe 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.
  • Reincarnation of Bacteriocins From the Lactobacillus Pangenomic Graveyard

    Collins, Fergus W. J.; Mesa-Pereira, Beatriz; O’Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary C.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/227 (Frontiers, 02/07/2018)
    Bacteria commonly produce narrow spectrum bacteriocins as a means of inhibiting closely related species competing for similar resources in an environment. The increasing availability of genomic data means that it is becoming easier to identify bacteriocins encoded within genomes. Often, however, the presence of bacteriocin genes in a strain does not always translate into biological antimicrobial activity. For example, when analysing the Lactobacillus pangenome we identified strains encoding ten pediocin-like bacteriocin structural genes which failed to display inhibitory activity. Nine of these bacteriocins were novel whilst one was identified as the previously characterized bacteriocin “penocin A.” The composition of these bacteriocin operons varied between strains, often with key components missing which are required for bacteriocin production, such as dedicated bacteriocin transporters and accessory proteins. In an effort to functionally express these bacteriocins, the structural genes for the ten pediocin homologs were cloned alongside the dedicated pediocin PA-1 transporter in both Escherichia coli and Lactobacillus paracasei heterologous hosts. Each bacteriocin was cloned with its native leader sequence and as a fusion protein with the pediocin PA-1 leader sequence. Several of these bacteriocins displayed a broader spectrum of inhibition than the original pediocin PA-1. We show how potentially valuable bacteriocins can easily be “reincarnated” from in silico data and produced in vitro despite often lacking the necessary accompanying machinery. Moreover, the study demonstrates how genomic datasets such as the Lactobacilus pangenome harbor a potential “arsenal” of antimicrobial activity with the possibility of being activated when expressed in more genetically amenable hosts.
  • Risk Assessment of E. coli Survival Up to the Grazing Exclusion Period After Dairy Slurry, Cattle Dung, and Biosolids Application to Grassland

    Ashekuzzaman, S. M.; Richards, Karl; Ellis, Stephanie; Tyrrel, Sean; O’Leary, Emma; Griffiths, Bryan; Ritz, Karl; Fenton, Owen; European Union; 265269 (Frontiers, 10/07/2018)
    Grassland application of dairy slurry, cattle dung, and biosolids offers an opportunity to recycle valuable nutrients (N, P, and K), which may all introduce pathogens to the soil environment. Herein, a temporal risk assessment of the survival of Escherichia coli (E. coli) up to 40 days in line with the legislated grazing exclusion time points after application was examined across six scenarios: (1) soil and biosolids mixture, (2) biosolids amended soil, (3) dairy slurry application, (4) cattle dung on pasture, (5) comparison of scenario 2, 3, and 4, and (6) maximum legal vs. excess rate of application for scenario 2 and 3. The risk model input parameters were taken or derived from regressions within the literature and an uncertainty analysis (n = 1,000 trials for each scenario) was conducted. Scenario 1 results showed that E. coli survival was higher in the soil/biosolids mixture for higher biosolids portion, resulting in the highest 20 day value of residual E. coli concentration (i.e., C20, log10 CFU g−1 dw) of 1.0 in 100% biosolids or inoculated soil and the lowest C20 of 0.098 in 75/25 soil/biosolids ratio, respectively, in comparison to an average initial value of ~6.4 log10 CFU g−1 dw. The E. coli survival across scenario 2, 3, and 4 showed that the C20 value of biosolids (0.57 log10 CFU g−1 dw) and dairy slurry (0.74 log10 CFU ml−1) was 2.9–3.7 times smaller than that of cattle dung (2.12 log10 CFU g−1 dw). The C20 values of biosolids and dairy slurry associated with legal and excess application rates ranged from 1.14 to 1.71 log10 CFU ha−1, which is a significant reduction from the initial concentration range (12.99 to 14.83 log10 CFU ha−1). The E. coli survival in un-amended soil was linear with a very low decay rate resulting in a higher C20 value than that of biosolids or dairy slurry. The risk assessment and uncertainly analysis showed that the residual concentrations in biosolids/dairy slurry applied soil after 20 days would be 45–57% lower than that of the background soil E. coli concentration. This means the current practice of grazing exclusion times is safe to reduce the risk of E. coli transmission into the soil environment.
  • Detection and Enumeration of Spore-Forming Bacteria in Powdered Dairy Products

    McHugh, Aoife J.; Feehily, Conor; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Frontiers, 31/01/2017)
    With the abolition of milk quotas in the European Union in 2015, several member states including Ireland, Luxembourg, and Belgium have seen year on year bi-monthly milk deliveries to dairies increase by up to 35%. Milk production has also increased outside of Europe in the past number of years. Unsurprisingly, there has been a corresponding increased focus on the production of dried milk products for improved shelf life. These powders are used in a wide variety of products, including confectionery, infant formula, sports dietary supplements and supplements for health recovery. To ensure quality and safety standards in the dairy sector, strict controls are in place with respect to the acceptable quantity and species of microorganisms present in these products. A particular emphasis on spore-forming bacteria is necessary due to their inherent ability to survive extreme processing conditions. Traditional microbiological detection methods used in industry have limitations in terms of time, efficiency, accuracy, and sensitivity. The following review will explore the common spore-forming bacterial contaminants of milk powders, will review the guidelines with respect to the acceptable limits of these microorganisms and will provide an insight into recent advances in methods for detecting these microbes. The various advantages and limitations with respect to the application of these diagnostics approaches for dairy food will be provided. It is anticipated that the optimization and application of these methods in appropriate ways can ensure that the enhanced pressures associated with increased production will not result in any lessening of safety and quality standards.
  • Structural mechanism and kinetics of in vitro gastric digestion are affected by process-induced changes in bovine milk

    Mulet-Cabero, Ana Isabel; Mackie, Alan R.; Wilde, Peter J.; Fenelon, Mark A.; Brodkorb, Andre; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; BBSRC; 2014029; BB/J004545/1 (Elsevier, 2018-03-20)
    Bovine milk is commonly exposed to processing, which can alter the structure, biochemical composition, physico-chemical properties and sensory quality. While many of these changes have been studied extensively, little is known about their effect on digestive behaviour. In this study, heat treatments of pasteurisation at 72 °C for 15 s or Ultra-High-Temperature (UHT) treatment at 140 °C for 3 s and homogenisation at pilot-plant scale were applied to whole milk. The gastric behaviour was investigated using a recently developed semi-dynamic adult in vitro model. The emptied digesta were analysed to assess the nutrient delivery kinetics, changes in microstructure and protein digestion. All samples showed protein aggregation and coagulum formation within the first 15 min of gastric digestion at which time the pH ranged from 5.5 to 6. Homogenised samples creamed regardless of heat treatment, whereas all non-homogenised samples exhibited sedimentation. The consistency of the coagulum of the heated samples was more fragmented compared to those of the non-heated samples. Rheological analysis showed that the higher the temperature of the heat treatment, the softer the obtained coagulum and the higher the protein hydrolysis at the end of digestion. The study also confirmed that gastric emptying of caseins from milk is delayed due to coagulation in the stomach, while β-lactoglobulin was emptied throughout the gastric phase, except for UHT-treated milk. The gastric behaviour also had an impact on the lipid and protein content of the emptied chyme. The homogenised samples seemed to release more nutrients at the end of gastric digestion.
  • Optimisation of plant protein and transglutaminase content in novel beef restructured steaks for older adults by central composite design

    Baugreet, Sephora; Kerry, Joseph P.; Brodkorb, Andre; Gomez, Carolina; Auty, Mark A.; Allen, Paul; Hamill, Ruth M; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 11/F/045 (Elsevier, 2018-03-29)
    With the goal of optimising a protein-enriched restructured beef steak targeted at the nutritional and chemosensory requirements of older adults, technological performance of thirty formulations, containing plant-based ingredients, pea protein isolate (PPI), rice protein (RP) and lentil flour (LF) with transglutaminase (TG) to enhance binding of meat pieces, were analysed. Maximal protein content of 28% in cooked product was achieved with PPI, RP and LF. Binding strength was primarily affected by TG, while textural parameters were improved with LF inclusion. Optimal formulation (F) to obtain a protein-enriched steak with lowest hardness values was achieved with TG (2%), PPI (8%), RP (9.35%) and LF (4%). F, F1S (optimal formulation 1 with added seasoning) and control restructured products (not containing plant proteins or seasonings) were scored by 120 consumers' aged over-65 years. Controls were most preferred (P < .05), while F1S were least liked by the older consumers. Consumer testing suggests further refinement and optimisation of restructured products with plant proteins should be undertaken.
  • Covalent labelling of β-casein and its effect on the microstructure and physico-chemical properties of emulsions stabilized by β-casein and whey protein isolate

    Li, Meng; Auty, Mark A.; O'Mahony, James A.; Kelly, Alan L.; Brodkorb, Andre; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier, 2016-12)
    The objective of this work was to investigate the effect of covalent labelling on the physico-chemical properties of β-casein (β-CN) in solution and in emulsions stabilized by β-CN and whey protein isolate (WPI). β-CN was covalently labelled by 5-(and 6)-carboxytetramethylrhodamine, succinimidyl ester (NHS-Rhodamine). The effect of conjugating β-CN with NHS-Rhodamine on the spectroscopic properties of labelled β-CN (β-CNlabelled) was examined. No significant difference in interfacial tension (p > 0.05) was found between mixture of WPI and β-CNlabelled (0.5% w/w WPI/β-CNlabelled) and of WPI and β-CN (0.5% w/w WPI/β-CN) in 10 mM phosphate buffer (pH 7.0) at 20 °C. Oil-in-water emulsions stabilized with either WPI/β-CN or WPI/β-CNlabelled (0.5% w/w) were also investigated using laser-light scattering, analytical centrifugation, rheometry and CLSM. It was shown that labelling had no significant effect on the physico-chemical properties of emulsions (p > 0.05) in terms of droplet size, creaming stability, viscosity or zeta-potential. Confocal micrographs of emulsions made with WPI/β-CNlabelled showed that both β-CN and whey proteins could be observed simultaneously, and were co-localized at the surface of fat globules. Furthermore, it was found through image analysis that β-CN produced a thicker interfacial layer than WPI.
  • Mesophilic sporeformers identified in whey powder by using shotgun metagenomic sequencing

    McHugh, Aoife J.; Feehily, Conor; Tobin, John; Fenelon, Mark A.; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; 14/F/883; 11/P1/1137 (American Society for Microbiology, 01/10/2018)
    Spoilage and pathogenic spore-forming bacteria are a major cause of concern for producers of dairy products. Traditional agar-based detection methods employed by the dairy industry have limitations with respect to their sensitivity and specificity. The aim of this study was to identify low-abundance sporeformers in samples of a powdered dairy product, whey powder, produced monthly over 1 year, using novel culture-independent shotgun metagenomics-based approaches. Although mesophilic sporeformers were the main target of this study, in one instance thermophilic sporeformers were also targeted using this culture-independent approach. For comparative purposes, mesophilic and thermophilic sporeformers were also tested for within the same sample using culture-based approaches. Ultimately, the approaches taken highlighted differences in the taxa identified due to treatment and isolation methods. Despite this, low levels of transient, mesophilic, and in some cases potentially pathogenic sporeformers were consistently detected in powder samples. Although the specific sporeformers changed from one month to the next, it was apparent that 3 groups of mesophilic sporeformers, namely, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus licheniformis/Bacillus paralicheniformis, and a third, more heterogeneous group containing Brevibacillus brevis, dominated across the 12 samples. Total thermophilic sporeformer taxonomy was considerably different from mesophilic taxonomy, as well as from the culturable thermophilic taxonomy, in the one sample analyzed by all four approaches. Ultimately, through the application of shotgun metagenomic sequencing to dairy powders, the potential for this technology to facilitate the detection of undesirable bacteria present in these food ingredients is highlighted.

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