• N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) Reverse the Impact of Early-Life Stress on the Gut Microbiota

      Pusceddu, Matteo M; El Aidy, Sahar; Crispie, Fiona; O'Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; Stanton, Catherine; Kelly, Philip M.; Cryan, John F.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (PLOS, 01/10/2015)
      Background Early life stress is a risk factor for many psychiatric disorders ranging from depression to anxiety. Stress, especially during early life, can induce dysbiosis in the gut microbiota, the key modulators of the bidirectional signalling pathways in the gut-brain axis that underline several neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. Despite their critical role in the development and function of the central nervous system, the effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) on the regulation of gut-microbiota in early-life stress has not been explored. Methods and Results Here, we show that long-term supplementation of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (80% EPA, 20% DHA) n-3 PUFAs mixture could restore the disturbed gut-microbiota composition of maternally separated (MS) female rats. Sprague-Dawley female rats were subjected to an early-life stress, maternal separation procedure from postnatal days 2 to 12. Non-separated (NS) and MS rats were administered saline, EPA/DHA 0.4 g/kg/day or EPA/DHA 1 g/kg/day, respectively. Analysis of the gut microbiota in adult rats revealed that EPA/DHA changes composition in the MS, and to a lesser extent the NS rats, and was associated with attenuation of the corticosterone response to acute stress. Conclusions In conclusion, EPA/DHA intervention alters the gut microbiota composition of both neurodevelopmentally normal and early-life stressed animals. This study offers insights into the interaction between n-3 PUFAs and gut microbes, which may play an important role in advancing our understanding of disorders of mood and cognitive functioning, such as anxiety and depression.
    • A nationwide surveillance study on E.coli 0157:H7 and enterobacteriaceae in Irish minced beef products

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

      Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is a rapid, non-destructive analytical technique which has been used in the food and agriculture industries for almost 20 years. Ireland was one of the first countries in the world to adopt this method for national trading purposes and the grain trade has used it for off-farm and in-process analysis since 1981. However, other sectors have been slower to realise its potential and as part of a process of demonstrating the role which it may play in monitoring quality in a range of food industry applications, a programme of research and development has been on-going within Teagasc and its predecessor An Foras Talúntais.
    • Near Infrared Spectroscopy in the Food Industry: A Tool of Quality Management.

      Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 01/03/1999)
      Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is a rapid, non-destructive analytical technique which has been used in the food and agriculture industries for almost 20 years. Ireland was one of the first countries in the world to adopt this method for national trading purposes and the grain trade has used it for off-farm and in-process analysis since 1981. However, other sectors have been slower to realise its potential and as part of a process of demonstrating the role which it may play in monitoring quality in a range of food industry applications, a programme of research and development has been on-going within Teagasc and its predecessor An Foras Talúntais. NIR spectroscopy provides the food processor with information. This information may describe how much of a given substance is present in a mixture or how the overall quality of the substance compares to a reference material e.g. a previous batch of raw material, finished goods or a competitor’s product. This report provides some examples of precompetitive R&D on representative qualitative and quantitative problems in a range of foods and food ingredients. The use of NIR spectra collected within 24 hours of slaughter to predict beef tenderness 14 days later shows considerable promise. Non-destructive monitoring of flesh composition in farmed salmon has paved the way for the efficient use of expensive feed materials while the content of each species in binary mixtures of minced beef and lamb has been accurate enough to suggest the use of NIR spectroscopy as a rapid screening tool by regulatory agencies, food processors and retailers. Classification of a range of food ingredients (including skim milk powder and flour) into one of a number of functionally-discrete categories has been successfully achieved with levels of accuracy high enough to warrant immediate industry utilisation i.e. greater than 90% for skim milk powders and 97% in the case of flour. Species confirmation in a number of raw minced meats (chicken, turkey, pork, beef and lamb) has been achieved with over 90% accuracy in feasibility studies. Calibrations transferred from one NIR instrument to another lose accuracy because of differences in instrument construction, sample presentation and other factors. A research effort has recently been applied to this problem of transferability and results are available for both scanning and fixed filter instruments. The success achieved opens the way for using NIR results obtained in different companies or countries as an uncontested basis for trade.
    • New Insights into Cell Encapsulation and the Role of Proteins During Flow Cytometry

      Doherty, Sinead B.; Brodkorb, Andre; Irish National Development Plan 2007 to 2013; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust; Science Foundation Ireland; NU518 (Intech, 13/06/2012)
      Modern approaches to science tend to follow divergent paths. On one hand, instruments and technologies are developed to capture as much information as possible with the need for complex data analysis to identify problematic issues. On the other hand, formulation focused, minimalistic approaches that gather only the most pertinent data for specific questions also represent a powerful methodology. This chapter will provide many examples of the latter by integrating Flow Cytometry (FACS - Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting) technology with high throughput screening (HTS) of encapsulation systems with extensive utility of one-dimensional (1-D) imaging for protein localisation. In this regard, less information is acquired from each cell, data files will be more manageable, easier to analyse and throughput screening will be significantly enhanced beyond traditional HTS analysis, irrespective of the protein concentration present in the background or delivery media.
    • New Product Development Opportunities for Irish Companies in the British Cheese Market

      Cowan, Cathal; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 01/11/2008)
      The primary objective of this research was to identify innovative cheese concepts appropriate for UK consumers and suitable for Irish industry to manufacture. It also aimed to identify personal, situational and market factors that influence consumers when purchasing cheese. This research study used existing market literature, in-depth interviews and consumer focus groups.
    • New product development opportunities for Irish companies in the British cheese market

      Cowan, Cathal; Downey, Gerard; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust (Teagasc, 2008-11)
      The primary objective of this research was to identify innovative cheese concepts appropriate for UK consumers and suitable for Irish industry to manufacture. It also aimed to identify personal, situational and market factors that influence consumers when purchasing cheese. This research study used existing market literature, in-depth interviews and consumer focus groups.
    • New technologies in the manufacture of low fat meat products

      Allen, Paul; Dreeling, Niamh; Desmond, Eoin; Hughes, Eimear; Mullen, Anne Maria; Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      The objective of this project was to provide a sound scientific basis for the development of low fat meat products. The emphasis was placed on identifying the barriers to producing high quality, low fat meat products and providing a knowledge base for manufacturers to overcome these, rather than actually developing new products. Each partner had specific tasks and worked with traditional products of their country. A wide range of products was thereby studied including comminuted, emulsion, cured and dried fermented, so that the results are widely applicable.
    • New Weapons to Fight Old Enemies: Novel Strategies for the (Bio)control of Bacterial Biofilms in the Food Industry

      Coughlan, Laura M.; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Alvarez-Ordonez, Avelino; Science Foundation Ireland; 13/SIRG/2157 (Frontiers, 18/10/2016)
      Biofilms are microbial communities characterized by their adhesion to solid surfaces and the production of a matrix of exopolymeric substances, consisting of polysaccharides, proteins, DNA and lipids, which surround the microorganisms lending structural integrity and a unique biochemical profile to the biofilm. Biofilm formation enhances the ability of the producer/s to persist in a given environment. Pathogenic and spoilage bacterial species capable of forming biofilms are a significant problem for the healthcare and food industries, as their biofilm-forming ability protects them from common cleaning processes and allows them to remain in the environment post-sanitation. In the food industry, persistent bacteria colonize the inside of mixing tanks, vats and tubing, compromising food safety and quality. Strategies to overcome bacterial persistence through inhibition of biofilm formation or removal of mature biofilms are therefore necessary. Current biofilm control strategies employed in the food industry (cleaning and disinfection, material selection and surface preconditioning, plasma treatment, ultrasonication, etc.), although effective to a certain point, fall short of biofilm control. Efforts have been explored, mainly with a view to their application in pharmaceutical and healthcare settings, which focus on targeting molecular determinants regulating biofilm formation. Their application to the food industry would greatly aid efforts to eradicate undesirable bacteria from food processing environments and, ultimately, from food products. These approaches, in contrast to bactericidal approaches, exert less selective pressure which in turn would reduce the likelihood of resistance development. A particularly interesting strategy targets quorum sensing systems, which regulate gene expression in response to fluctuations in cell-population density governing essential cellular processes including biofilm formation. This review article discusses the problems associated with bacterial biofilms in the food industry and summarizes the recent strategies explored to inhibit biofilm formation, with special focus on those targeting quorum sensing.
    • Nisin in Combination with Cinnamaldehyde and EDTA to Control Growth of Escherichia coli Strains of Swine Origin

      Field, Des; Baghou, Inès; Rea, Mary C.; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Ross, R. Paul; Hill, Colin; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; 10/IN.1/B3027 (MDPI AG, 2017-12-12)
      Post-weaning diarrhoea (PWD) due to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is an economically important disease in pig production worldwide. Although antibiotics have contributed significantly to mitigate the economic losses caused by PWD, there is major concern over the increased incidence of antimicrobial resistance among bacteria isolated from pigs. Consequently, suitable alternatives that are safe and effective are urgently required. Many naturally occurring compounds, including the antimicrobial peptide nisin and a number of plant essential oils, have been widely studied and are reported to be effective as antimicrobial agents against pathogenic microorganisms. Here, we evaluate the potential of nisin in combination with the essential oil cinnamaldehyde and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) to control the growth of E. coli strains of swine origin including two characterized as ETEC. The results reveal that the use of nisin (10 μM) with low concentrations of trans-cinnamaldehyde (125 μg/mL) and EDTA (0.25–2%) resulted in extended lag phases of growth compared to when either antimicrobial is used alone. Further analysis through kill curves revealed that an approximate 1-log reduction in E. coli cell counts was observed against the majority of targets tested following 3 h incubation. These results highlight the potential benefits of combining the natural antimicrobial nisin with trans-cinnamaldehyde and EDTA as a new approach for the inhibition of E. coli strains of swine origin.
    • Nitrofurans : measuring tissue-bound residues in meat

      O'Keeffe, Michael; Connolly, Anne; Nugent, Audrey (Teagasc, 2006-08)
      The aims of this project were to (a) develop a range of screening and confirmatory test methods that might be applied to effectively test for the illicit use of the prohibited nitrofuran antimicrobials, (b) study the persistence of nitrofuran antimicrobials as bound metabolite residues in edible tissues and (c) undertake a pan-European survey of the incidence of nitrofurans in retail pork.
    • Nitrofurans: Measuring Tissue-Bound Residues in Meat

      O'Keeffe, Michael; Conneely, Anne; Nugent, Audrey; Downey, Gerard; European Union (Teagasc, 01/08/2006)
      The aims of this project were to (a) develop a range of screening and confirmatory test methods that might be applied to effectively test for the illicit use of the prohibited nitrofuran antimicrobials,(b) study the persistence of nitrofuran antimicrobials as bound metabolite residues inedible tissues and (c) undertake a pan-European survey of the incidence of nitrofurans in retail pork.
    • A note on challenge trials to determine the growth of Listeria monocytogenes on mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)

      Leong, Dara; Alvarez-Ordonez, Avelino; Jordan, Kieran; Safefood (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 30/12/2015)
      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.
    • A note on muscle composition and colour of Holstein-Friesian, Piedmontese × Holstein-Friesian and Romagnola × Holstein-Friesian steers.

      Keane, Michael G.; Allen, Paul (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      Holstein-Friesian (HF), Piedmontese × Holstein-Friesian (PM) and Romagnola × Holstein-Friesian (RO) steers were compared for muscle composition and colour. A total of 120 steers in a 3 breed types (HF, PM and RO) × 2 feeding levels (low and high) × 2 finishing periods (short, S and extended, E) factorial experiment were used. Three samples of m. longissimus were taken for chemical analysis, measurement of drip loss and Hunterlab colour measurements. Muscle moisture and protein concentrations were lower, and lipid concentration was higher for HF than for PM and RO, which were similar. There were no effects of feeding level on chemical composition, but after blooming all colour values except hue were lower for the higher feeding level. The E finishing period reduced moisture, protein, drip-loss, L (lightness), a (redness) and chroma values. It is concluded that PM and RO had similar muscle composition but HF had a higher lipid concentration. Feeding level had few effects on muscle composition, but extended finishing increased all measures of fatness and reduced colour values.
    • Novel High-Molecular Weight Fucosylated Milk Oligosaccharides Identified in Dairy Streams

      Mehra, Raj; Barile, Daniela; Marotta, Mariarosaria; Lebrilla, Carlitto B.; Chu, Caroline; German, J.Bruce; University of California Discovery Program; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; National Institutes of Health; California Dairy Research Foundation; et al. (PLOS, 08/05/2014)
      Oligosaccharides are the third largest component in human milk. This abundance is remarkable because oligosaccharides are not digestible by the newborn, and yet they have been conserved and amplified during evolution. In addition to encouraging the growth of a protective microbiota dominated by bifidobacteria, oligosaccharides have anti-infective activity, preventing pathogens from binding to intestinal cells. Although it would be advantageous adding these valuable molecules to infant milk formula, the technologies to reproduce the variety and complexity of human milk oligosaccharides by enzymatic/organic synthesis are not yet mature. Consequently, there is an enormous interest in alternative sources of these valuable oligosaccharides. Recent research has demonstrated that bovine milk and whey permeate also contain oligosaccharides. Thus, a thorough characterization of oligosaccharides in bovine dairy streams is an important step towards fully assessing their specific functionalities. In this study, bovine milk oligosaccharides (BMOs) were concentrated by membrane filtration from a readily available dairy stream called “mother liquor”, and analyzed by high accuracy MALDI FT-ICR mass spectrometry. The combination of HPLC and accurate mass spectrometry allowed the identification of ideal processing conditions leading to the production of Kg amount of BMO enriched powders. Among the BMOs identified, 18 have high-molecular weight and corresponded in size to the most abundant oligosaccharides present in human milk. Notably 6 oligosaccharides contained fucose, a sugar monomer that is highly abundant in human milk, but is rarely observed in bovine milk. This work shows that dairy streams represent a potential source of complex milk oligosaccharides for commercial development of unique dairy ingredients in functional foods that reproduce the benefits of human milk.
    • Novel “gel demineralizing” method for protein recovery from fat rendering waste stream based on its gelling properties

      Alvarez, 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%).
    • Nucleic acid-based approaches to investigate microbial-related cheese quality defects

      O'Sullivan, Daniel; Giblin, Linda; McSweeney, Paul L. H.; Sheehan, Jeremiah J.; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2012205 (Frontiers Media SA, 21/01/2013)
      The microbial profile of cheese is a primary determinant of cheese quality. Microorganisms can contribute to aroma and taste defects, form biogenic amines, cause gas and secondary fermentation defects, and can contribute to cheese pinking and mineral deposition issues. These defects may be as a result of seasonality and the variability in the composition of the milk supplied, variations in cheese processing parameters, as well as the nature and number of the non-starter microorganisms which come from the milk or other environmental sources. Such defects can be responsible for production and product recall costs and thus represent a significant economic burden for the dairy industry worldwide. Traditional non-molecular approaches are often considered biased and have inherently slow turnaround times. Molecular techniques can provide early and rapid detection of defects that result from the presence of specific spoilage microbes and, ultimately, assist in enhancing cheese quality and reducing costs. Here we review the DNA-based methods that are available to detect/quantify spoilage bacteria, and relevant metabolic pathways in cheeses and, in the process, highlight how these strategies can be employed to improve cheese quality and reduce the associated economic burden on cheese processors.
    • Nutritional enhancement of meat products with dietary fibres

      McDonagh, Ciara; Troy, Declan J.; Desmond, Eoin; McDermott, Helen (Teagasc, 2004-02)
      Normal fat (about 23 %) and reduced fat (about 10%) pork sausages and beefburgers were nutritionally enhanced using dietary fibres from various plant sources: inulin, wheat, citrus, potato, oat and pea.
    • Nutritional intervention during gestation alters growth, body composition and gene expression patterns in skeletal muscle of pig offspring

      McNamara, Louise B.; Giblin, Linda; Markham, T.; Stickland, N. C.; Berry, Donagh P.; O'Reilly, James J; Lynch, P Brendan; Kerry, Joseph P.; Lawlor, Peadar G; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Cambridge University Press, 2011-02)
      Variations in maternal nutrition during gestation can influence foetal growth, foetal development and permanently ‘programme’ offspring for postnatal life. The objective of this study was to analyse the effect of increased maternal nutrition during different gestation time windows on offspring growth, carcass quality, meat quality and gene expression in skeletal muscle. A total of 64 sows were assigned to the following feeding treatments: a standard control diet at a feed allocation of 2.3 kg/day throughout gestation, increased feed allowance of 4.6 kg/day from 25 to 50 days of gestation (dg), from 50 to 80 dg and from 25 to 80 dg. At weaning, Light, Medium and Heavy pigs of the same gender, within litter, were selected based on birth weight, individually penned and monitored until slaughter at 130 days post weaning. Carcass and meat quality traits of the semimembranosus (SM) muscle were recorded post mortem. A cross section of the semitendinosus (ST) muscle encompassing the deep and superficial regions were harvested from pigs (n518 per treatment) for RNA extraction and quantification of gene expression by real-time PCR. The results showed that doubling the feed intake from 25 to 50 dg reduced offspring growth, carcass weight, intramuscular fat content and increased drip loss of the SM muscle. Interestingly, protein phosphatase 3 catalytic subunit – a-isoform, which codes for the transcription factor calcineurin, was upregulated in the ST muscle of offspring whose mothers received increased feed allowance from 25 to 50 dg. This may provide an explanation for the previous observed increases in Type IIa muscle fibres of these offspring. Increasing the maternal feed intake from 50 to 80 dg negatively impacted pig growth and carcass weight, but produced leaner male pigs. Extending the increased maternal feed intake from 25 to 80 dg had no effect on offspring over the standard control gestation diet. Although intra-litter variation in pig weight is a problem for pig producers, increased maternal feeding offered no improvement throughout life to the lighter birth weight littermates in our study. Indeed, increased maternal nutrition at the three-gestation time windows selected provided no major benefits to the offspring.
    • Observations on the water distribution and extractable sugar content in carrot slices after pulsed electric field treatment

      Aguilo-Aguayo, Ingrid; Downey, Gerard; Keenan, Derek F.; Lyng, James G.; Brunton, Nigel; Rai, Dilip K.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Generalitat of Catalonia; Lifelong Learning Programme; FIRM 06/TNI/AFRC6; et al. (Elsevier, 13/06/2014)
      The impact of pulsed electric field (PEF) processing conditions on the distribution of water in carrot tissue and extractability of soluble sugars from carrot slices was studied. Time domain NMR relaxometry was used to investigate the water proton mobility in PEF-treated carrot samples. Three distinct transverse relaxation peaks were observed in untreated carrots. After PEF treatment only two slightly-overlapping peaks were found; these were attributed to water present in the cytoplasm and vacuole of carrot xylem and phloem tissues. This post-treatment observation indicated an increase in water permeability of tissues and/or a loss of integrity in the tonoplast. In general, the stronger the electric field applied, the lower the area representing transverse relaxation (T2) values irrespective of treatment duration. Moreover an increase in sucrose, β- and α-glucose and fructose concentrations of carrot slice extracts after PEF treatment suggested increases in both cell wall and vacuole permeability as a result of exposure to pulsed electric fields.