• Managing new food product development.

      Daly, Eimear; European Union (Teagasc, 2002-10)
      The future success of the Irish food industry depends on the ability of companies to develop new skills in a rapidly changing market environment. One such skill is the management of new product development. This report illustrates the impact that training in the product development process had on a range of small to medium enterprises. Training was delivered as a series of interactive workshops covering the key stages of the new product development process. Each company also received up to 7 days consultancy support to facilitate implementation of the learning.
    • Marine Functional Foods Research Initiative (NutraMara)

      Troy, Declan J.; Tiwari, Brijesh; Hayes, Maria; Ross, R Paul; Stanton, Catherine; Johnson, Mark; Stengel, Dagmar; O'Doherty, John V.; Fitzgerald, Richard J.; McSorley, Emeir; et al. (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.
    • The market for speciality foods in Ireland

      Meehan, Hilary; Murphy, Aidan; O'Reilly, Seamus; Bogue, Joe (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      The speciality food sector has experienced above average industry growth over recent years. Most speciality foods are produced in limited quantities using non-industrial artisan techniques. The majority of speciality food producing businesses were set up in the last fifteen years, have a turnover below €635,000, are based in a rural region and employ less than ten people. The most important markets for Irish speciality food producers are the export market, food service and multiple retailers.
    • The market potential for in-conversion organic products in Ireland

      Cowan, Cathal; Connolly, Liam; Howlett, Brendan; Meehan, Hilary; Ryan, Jane; Mahon, Denise; McIntyre, Bridin; Fanning, Martin; Downey, Gerard; European Union; et al. (Teagasc, 01/08/2005)
      This report deals with the market for and financial feasibility of converting from conventional to organic food production in Ireland. All members of the organic supply chain were included in the study i.e. farmers, intermediaries, retailers and consumers, to examine the potential of a market for conversion grade produce. Conversion products are those produced in the second year of the conversion phase from conventional to organic farming. Products do not attain full organic status until this is completed.
    • Measuring the lean content of carcasses using TOBEC

      Allen, Paul; McGeehin, Brian (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      This project examined the potential of two objective methods of measuring the lean and fat content of meat carcasses and cuts. Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC) and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) are both based on the different conductivity of lean and fat tissues. TOBEC measures the absorption by a carcass or cut of electrical energy from an electromagnetic field whereas BIA measures the resistance to the flow of an electrical current. TOBEC is a large and relatively expensive piece of equipment that is fully automated. BIA is small and relatively low cost but requires an operator.
    • Mechanical Grading of beef carcasses

      Allen, Paul; Finnerty, Nicholas; European Union; European Union (Teagasc, 2001-10)
      Three beef carcass classification systems that use Video Image Analysis (VIA) technology were tested in two trials at Dawn Meats Midleton, Co. Cork. The VIA systems were BCC2, manufactured by SFK Technology, Denmark, VBS2000, manufactured by E+V, Germany, and VIAscan, manufactured by Meat and Livestock Australia. The first trial, conducted over a 6-week period in July/August 1999, calibrated the VIA systems on a large sample of carcasses and validated these calibrations on a further sample obtained at the same time. The second trial, conducted in the first two weeks of March 2000, was a further validation trial. The reference classification scores were determined by a panel of three experienced classifiers using the EUROP grid with 15 subclasses for conformation class and 15 sub-classes for fat. In the first trial the accuracy of the VIA systems at predicting saleable meat yield in steer carcasses was also assessed.
    • 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.
    • Methods for antibiotic residues in food

      O'Keeffe, Mandy J.; Walshe, Michaela; Horne, Elizabeth; O'Keeffe, Michael; Foran, Shane; Lardner, Caroline; Daly, Tracy; Kane, Marian (Teagasc, 2001-04)
      A comprehensive capability to test for residues of veterinary drugs is an important support for the Irish food industry. There is a requirement for food manufacturers to demonstrate the compliance of their products with stringent customer specifications. In addition, legislative requirements are becoming more exacting both in terms of the range of substances covered and the lower residue levels to which test systems must measure.
    • Methods for veterinary drug residue analysis in food

      O'Keeffe, Michael (Teagasc, 1999-02)
      A comprehensive capability to test for residues of veterinary drugs is an important support for the Irish food industry. There is a requirement for food manufacturers to demonstrate the compliance of their products with stringent customer specifications. In addition, legislative requirements are becoming more exacting both in terms of the range of substances covered and the lower residue levels to which test systems must measure.
    • 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.; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/2273; SFI/11/PI/1137; et al. (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.
    • The microbiological safety and quality of foods processed by the "sous vide" system as a method of commercial catering

      Bolton, Declan J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, 1998-08)
      The objective of this project was to improve the quality and safety of sous vide foods by investigating the responses of the food-poisoning microorganisms to the processing and storage conditions used in this technology. The major food poisoning bacteria of concern in sous vide foods are strains of Clostridium botulinum, Bacillus cereus, verotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157:H7 (VTEC), Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica.
    • Microbiome and metabolome modifying effects of several cardiovascular disease interventions in apo-E−/− mice

      Ryan, Paul M; London, Lis E E; Bjorndahl, Trent C; Mandal, Rupasri; Murphy, Kiera; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Shanahan, Fergus; Ross, R Paul; Wishart, David S; Caplice, Noel M; et al. (Biomed Central, 13/03/2017)
      Background There is strong evidence indicating that gut microbiota have the potential to modify, or be modified by the drugs and nutritional interventions that we rely upon. This study aims to characterize the compositional and functional effects of several nutritional, neutraceutical, and pharmaceutical cardiovascular disease interventions on the gut microbiome, through metagenomic and metabolomic approaches. Apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice were fed for 24 weeks either high-fat/cholesterol diet alone (control, HFC) or high-fat/cholesterol in conjunction with one of three dietary interventions, as follows: plant sterol ester (PSE), oat β-glucan (OBG) and bile salt hydrolase-active Lactobacillus reuteri APC 2587 (BSH), or the drug atorvastatin (STAT). The gut microbiome composition was then investigated, in addition to the host fecal and serum metabolome. Results We observed major shifts in the composition of the gut microbiome of PSE mice, while OBG and BSH mice displayed more modest fluctuations, and STAT showed relatively few alterations. Interestingly, these compositional effects imparted by PSE were coupled with an increase in acetate and reduction in isovalerate (p < 0.05), while OBG promoted n-butyrate synthesis (p < 0.01). In addition, PSE significantly dampened the microbial production of the proatherogenic precursor compound, trimethylamine (p < 0.05), attenuated cholesterol accumulation, and nearly abolished atherogenesis in the model (p < 0.05). However, PSE supplementation produced the heaviest mice with the greatest degree of adiposity (p < 0.05). Finally, PSE, OBG, and STAT all appeared to have considerable impact on the host serum metabolome, including alterations in several acylcarnitines previously associated with a state of metabolic dysfunction (p < 0.05). Conclusions We observed functional alterations in microbial and host-derived metabolites, which may have important implications for systemic metabolic health, suggesting that cardiovascular disease interventions may have a significant impact on the microbiome composition and functionality. This study indicates that the gut microbiome-modifying effects of novel therapeutics should be considered, in addition to the direct host effects.
    • The Microbiota and Health Promoting Characteristics of the Fermented Beverage Kefir

      Bourrie, Benjamin C. T.; Willing, Benjamin P.; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Canada Research Chairs Program; SFI/11/PI/1137; SFI/12/RC/2273; 2014025 (Frontiers Media S. A., 04/05/2016)
      Kefir is a complex fermented dairy product created through the symbiotic fermentation of milk by lactic acid bacteria and yeasts contained within an exopolysaccharide and protein complex called a kefir grain. As with other fermented dairy products, kefir has been associated with a range of health benefits such as cholesterol metabolism and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition, antimicrobial activity, tumor suppression, increased speed of wound healing, and modulation of the immune system including the alleviation of allergy and asthma. These reports have led to increased interest in kefir as a focus of research and as a potential probiotic-containing product. Here, we review those studies with a particular emphasis on the microbial composition and the health benefits of the product, as well as discussing the further development of kefir as an important probiotic product.
    • Microbiota-related Changes in Bile Acid & Tryptophan Metabolism are Associated with Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in a Mouse Model of Autism

      Golubeva, Anna B.; Joyce, Susan; Moloney, Gerard; Burokas, Aurelijus; Sherwin, Eoin; Arboleya, Silvia; Flynn, Ian; Khochanskiy, Dmitry; Pérez, Angela M.; Peterson, Veronica; et al. (15/09/2017)
      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.
    • Milk quality and cheese diversification

      Sheehan, Jeremiah J. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2013)
      Abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015 is projected to result in a 2.75 billion litre increase in Irish milk production by 2020. Although cheese offers vital market opportunities for this increased milk production, traditional cheese markets such as Cheddar, are predicted to grow more slowly than for other semi-soft and semi-hard cheese types. Innovation is now focused on achieving greater diversity in cheese types manufactured on Irish commercial plants and on development of new products with specific properties for target markets. This innovation is best illustrated by the current Teagasc – Irish Dairy Board collaboration. This review considers the relative influence of milk quality on diversification of the portfolio of cheeses manufactured from a seasonally-produced Irish milk supply with particular reference to milk microbial profile and to milk enzyme complement for the manufacture and ripening of non-Cheddar cheese varieties.
    • Milk Quality Handbook. Practical Steps to Improve Milk Quality

      Moorepark Dairy Production Research Centre; O'Brien, Bernadette (Teagasc, 07/09/2008)
      The overall objective of this booklet is to provide guidelines and recommendations for the on-farm milk production process such that the milk produced may achieve increasingly stringent milk hygiene and processing quality standards. It is intended that the genuine problem areas in relation to milk quality will be targeted and an increased awareness and perception of milk quality be provided.
    • Model System for the Production of Enzyme Modified Cheese (EMC) Flavours.

      Kilcawley, Kieran N; Beresford, Tom; Lee, B.; Wilkinson, M.G.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Irish Dairy Levy Research Trust (Teagasc, 01/04/2002)
      Natural cheese flavour ingredients, in the form of enzyme modified cheeses (EMCs), are widely used in the convenience food industry and can provide high volume added opportunities for the cheese industry. Many EMCs are produced using commercial enzyme preparations and previous studies have indicated that they contain side activities in addition to their stated main activity (see DPRC Report No.10). Therefore, it is critical that the exact enzyme complement of these preparations are known before they can be used to produce EMC of specific requirements on a consistent basis. The scientific basis of rapid enzyme mediated flavour formation in the production of EMCs is not fully understood. Consequently this knowledge gap is a major obstacle in the development of high value cheese flavour ingredients. Hence, a major objective of this project was to deepen the scientific understanding of flavour formation with a view to the production of natural enzyme-mediated dairy flavour ingredients with commercial potential. The ultimate aim was to develop the technology to produce customised high value dairy flavour ingredients in an optimised process.
    • Modelling the changes in viscosity during thermal treatment of milk protein concentrate using kinetic data

      Ho, Quang Tri; Murphy, Kevin M.; Drapala, Kamil P.; Fenelon, Mark A.; O'Mahony, James A.; Tobin, John; McCarthy, Noel; Enterprise Ireland; TC/2014/0016 (Elsevier, 2018-10-24)
      This work aimed to model the effect of heat treatment on viscosity of milk protein concentrate (MPC) using kinetic data. MPC obtained after ultrafiltration was subjected to different time-temperature heat treatment combinations. Heat treatment at high temperature and short time (i.e., 100 or 120 °C×30 s) led to a significant increase in viscosity in MPC systems. Second-order reaction kinetic models proved a better fit than zero- or first-order models when fitted for viscosity response to heat treatment. A distinct deviation in the slope of the Arrhenius plot at 77.9 °C correlated to a significant increase in the rate of viscosity development at temperatures above this, confirming the transition of protein denaturation from the unfolding to the aggregation stage. This study demonstrated that heat-induced viscosity of MPC as a result of protein denaturation/aggregation can be successfully modelled in response to thermal treatment, providing useful new information in predicting the effect of thermal treatment on viscosity of MPC.
    • Molecular Characterisation of Bacteriophage K Towards Applications for the Biocontrol of Pathogenic Staphylococci

      O'Flaherty, Sarah; Flynn, James; Coffey, Aidan; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Meaney, William J; Ross, R Paul (Teagasc, 01/01/2006)
      The aim of this work was to characterise staphylococcal bacteriophage (a bacterial virus) and to assess their potential as therapeutic agents against pathogenic strains of Staphylococcus aureus, particularly mastitis-causing strains. The project included the use of two newly isolated phage CS1 and DW2, and an existing polyvalent phage. The new phage were isolated from the farmyard and characterised by electron microscopy and restriction analysis. Both phage were shown to belong to the Siphoviridae family and were lytic for representatives of all three clonal groups of Irish mastitis-associated staphylococci. A cocktail of three phage (CS1, DW2 and K) at 108 (plaque forming units) PFU/ml was infused into cows teats in animal trials. The lack of an increase in somatic cell counts in milks indicated strongly that the phage did not irritate the animal. In addition, the most potent phage used in this study, phage K, was further studied by genome sequencing, which revealed a linear DNA genome of 127,395 base pairs, which encodes 118 putative ORFs (open reading frames).
    • Molecular Epidemiology of Campylobacter Isolates from Poultry Production Units in Southern Ireland

      O'Mahony, Emer; Buckley, James F.; Bolton, Declan J.; Whyte, Paul; Fanning, Seamus; Safefood; 04-RESR-04 (PLOS, 2011-12-06)
      This study aimed to identify the sources and routes of transmission of Campylobacter in intensively reared poultry farms in the Republic of Ireland. Breeder flocks and their corresponding broilers housed in three growing facilities were screened for the presence of Campylobacter species from November 2006 through September 2007. All breeder flocks tested positive for Campylobacter species (with C. jejuni and C. coli being identified). Similarly, all broiler flocks also tested positive for Campylobacter by the end of the rearing period. Faecal and environmental samples were analyzed at regular intervals throughout the rearing period of each broiler flock. Campylobacter was not detected in the disinfected house, or in one-day old broiler chicks. Campylobacter jejuni was isolated from environmental samples including air, water puddles, adjacent broiler flocks and soil. A representative subset of isolates from each farm was selected for further characterization using flaA-SVR sub-typing and multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) to determine if same-species isolates from different sources were indistinguishable or not. Results obtained suggest that no evidence of vertical transmission existed and that adequate cleaning/disinfection of broiler houses contributed to the prevention of carryover and cross-contamination. Nonetheless, the environment appears to be a potential source of Campylobacter. The population structure of Campylobacter isolates from broiler farms in Southern Ireland was diverse and weakly clonal.