• Managing variability in decision making in swine growing-finishing units

      Agostini, Piero D.S.; Manzanilla, Edgar G; de Blas, Carlos; Fahey, Alan G.; da Silva, Caio A; Gasa, Josep; Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación; Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo; AGL2011-29960 (Biomed Central, 2015-09-01)
      Analysis of data collected from pig farms may be useful to understand factors affecting pig health and productive performance. However, obtaining these data and drawing conclusions from them can be done at different levels and presents several challenges. In the present study, information from 688 batches of growing-finishing (GF) pigs (average initial and final body weight of 19.1 and 108.5 kg respectively) from 404 GF farms integrated in 7 companies was obtained between July 2008 and July 2010 in Spain by survey. Management and facility factors associated with feed conversion ratio (FCR) and mortality were studied by multiple linear regression analysis in each single company (A to G) and in an overall database (OD). Factors studied were geographic location of the farm, trimester the pigs entered the farm, breed of sire and sex segregation in pens (BREGENSEG), use of circovirus vaccine, number of origins the pigs were obtained from, age of the farm, percentage of slatted floor, type of feeder, drinker and ventilation, number of phases and form of feed, antibiotic administration system, water source, and number and initial weight of pigs. Results In two or more companies studied and/or in OD, the trimester when pigs were placed in the farm, BREGENSEG, number of origins of the pigs, age of the farm and initial body weight were factors associated with FCR. Regarding mortality, trimester of placement, number of origins of the pigs, water source in the farm, number of pigs placed and the initial body weight were relevant factors. Age of the farm, antibiotic administration system, and water source were only provided by some of the studied companies and were not included in the OD model, however, when analyzed in particular companies these three variables had an important effect and may be variables of interest in companies that do not record them. Conclusions Analysing data collected from farms at different levels helps better understand factors associated with productive performance of pig herds. Out of the studied factors trimester of placement and number of origins of the pigs were the most relevant factors associated with FCR and mortality.
    • MAP, Johne’s disease and the microbiome; current knowledge and future considerations

      Matthews, Chloe; Cotter, Paul D; O’ Mahony, Jim; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/S/651 (Biomed Central, 2021-05-07)
      Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is the causative agent of Johne’s disease in ruminants. As an infectious disease that causes reduced milk yields, effects fertility and, eventually, the loss of the animal, it is a huge financial burden for associated industries. Efforts to control MAP infection and Johne’s disease are complicated due to difficulties of diagnosis in the early stages of infection and challenges relating to the specificity and sensitivity of current testing methods. The methods that are available contribute to widely used test and cull strategies, vaccination programmes also in place in some countries. Next generation sequencing technologies have opened up new avenues for the discovery of novel biomarkers for disease prediction within MAP genomes and within ruminant microbiomes. Controlling Johne’s disease in herds can lead to improved animal health and welfare, in turn leading to increased productivity. With current climate change bills, such as the European Green Deal, targeting livestock production systems for more sustainable practices, managing animal health is now more important than ever before. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge on genomics and detection of MAP as it pertains to Johne’s disease.
    • Markers associated with heading and aftermath heading in perennial ryegrass full-sib families

      Arojju, Sai Krishna; Barth, Susanne; Milbourne, Dan; Conaghan, Patrick; Velmurugan, Janaki; Hodkinson, Trevor R; Byrne, Stephen L.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; EU Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship; et al. (Biomed Central, 16/07/2016)
      Background Heading and aftermath heading are important traits in perennial ryegrass because they impact forage quality. So far, genome-wide association analyses in this major forage species have only identified a small number of genetic variants associated with heading date that overall explained little of the variation. Some possible reasons include rare alleles with large phenotypic affects, allelic heterogeneity, or insufficient marker density. We established a genome-wide association panel with multiple genotypes from multiple full-sib families. This ensured alleles were present at the frequency needed to have sufficient statistical power to identify associations. We genotyped the panel via partial genome sequencing and performed genome-wide association analyses with multi-year phenotype data collected for heading date, and aftermath heading. Results Genome wide association using a mixed linear model failed to identify any variants significantly associated with heading date or aftermath heading. Our failure to identify associations for these traits is likely due to the extremely low linkage disequilibrium we observed in this population. However, using single marker analysis within each full-sib family we could identify markers and genomic regions associated with heading and aftermath heading. Using the ryegrass genome we identified putative orthologs of key heading genes, some of which were located in regions of marker-trait associations. Conclusion Given the very low levels of LD, genome wide association studies in perennial ryegrass populations are going to require very high SNP densities. Single marker analysis within full-sibs enabled us to identify significant marker-trait associations. One of these markers anchored proximal to a putative ortholog of TFL1, homologues of which have been shown to play a key role in continuous heading of some members of the rose family, Rosaceae.
    • Marriage exchanges, seed exchanges, and the dynamics of manioc diversity

      Deletrea, Marc; McKey, Doyle B.; Hodkinson, Trevor R (National Academy of Sciences, 2012-07-02)
      The conservation of crop genetic resources requires understanding the different variables-cultural, social, and economic-that impinge on crop diversity. In small-scale farming systems, seed exchanges represent a key mechanism in the dynamics of crop genetic diversity, and analyzing the rules that structure social networks of seed exchange between farmer communities can help decipher patterns of crop genetic diversity. Using a combination of ethnobotanical and molecular genetic approaches, we investigated the relationships between regional patterns of manioc genetic diversity in Gabon and local networks of seed exchange. Spatially explicit Bayesian clustering methods showed that geographical discontinuities of manioc genetic diversity mirror major ethnolinguistic boundaries, with a southern matrilineal domain characterized by high levels of varietal diversity and a northern patrilineal domain characterized by low varietal diversity. Borrowing concepts from anthropology-kinship, bridewealth, and filiation-we analyzed the relationships between marriage exchanges and seed exchange networks in patrilineal and matrilineal societies. We demonstrate that, by defining marriage prohibitions, kinship systems structure social networks of exchange between farmer communities and influence the movement of seeds in metapopulations, shaping crop diversity at local and regional levels.
    • Measurements of the acid-binding capacity of ingredients used in pig diets

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan; Caffrey, Patrick J.; O'Reilly, James J; O'Connell, M. Karen (Biomed Central, 2005-08-01)
      Some feed ingredients bind more acid in the stomach than others and for this reason may be best omitted from pig starter foods if gastric acidity is to be promoted. The objective of this study was to measure the acid-binding capacity (ABC) of ingredients commonly used in pig starter foods. Ingredients were categorised as follows: (i) milk products (n = 6), (ii) cereals (n = 10), (iii) root and pulp products (n = 5), (iv) vegetable proteins (n = 11), (v) meat and fish meal (n = 2), (vi) medication (n = 3), (vii) amino acids (n = 4), (viii) minerals (n = 16), (ix) acid salts (n = 4), (x) acids (n = 10). A 0.5 g sample of food was suspended in 50 ml distilled de-ionised water with continuous stirring. This suspension was titrated with 0.1 mol/L HCl or 0.1 mol/L NaOH so that approximately 10 additions of titrant was required to reach pH 3.0. The pH readings after each addition were recorded following equilibration for three minutes. ABC was calculated as the amount of acid in milliequivalents (meq) required to lower the pH of 1 kg food to (a) pH 4.0 (ABC-4) and (b) pH 3.0 (ABC-3). Categories of food had significantly different (P < 0.01) ABC values. Mean ABC-4 and ABC-3 values of the ten categories were: (i) 623 (s.d. 367.0) and 936 (s.d. 460.2), (ii) 142 (s.d. 79.2) and 324 (s.d. 146.4), (iii) 368 (s.d. 65.3) and 804 (s.d. 126.7), (iv) 381 (s.d. 186.1) and 746 (s.d. 227.0), (v) 749 (s.d. 211.6) and 1508 (s.d. 360.8), (vi) 120 (s.d. 95.6) and 261 (s.d. 163.2), (vii) 177 (s.d. 60.7) and 1078 (s.d. 359.0), (viii) 5064 (s.d. 5525.1) and 7051 (s.d. 5911.6), (ix) 5057 (s.d. 1336.6) and 8945 (s.d. 2654.1) and (x) -5883 (s.d. 4220.5) and -2591 (s.d. 2245.4) meq HCl per kg, respectively. Within category, ABC-3 and ABC- 4 values were highly correlated: R2 values of 0.80 and greater for food categories i, iv, v, vi, vii and viii. The correlation between predicted and observed ABC values of 34 mixed diets was 0.83 for ABC-4 and 0.71 for ABC-3. It was concluded that complete diets with low ABC values may be formulated through careful selection of ingredients. The final pH to which ABC is measured should matter little as ABC-3 and ABC-4 are highly correlated.
    • Microbial colonization and resistome dynamics in food processing environments of a newly opened pork cutting industry during 1.5 years of activity

      Cobo-Díaz, José F.; Alvarez-Molina, Adrián; Alexa, Elena A.; Walsh, Calum J.; Mencía-Ares, Oscar; Puente-Gómez, Paula; Likotrafiti, Eleni; Fernández-Gómez, Paula; Prieto, Bernardo; Crispie, Fiona; et al. (Biomed Central, 2021-10-14)
      Background The microorganisms that inhabit food processing environments (FPE) can strongly influence the associated food quality and safety. In particular, the possibility that FPE may act as a reservoir of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, and a hotspot for the transmission of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) is a concern in meat processing plants. Here, we monitor microbial succession and resistome dynamics relating to FPE through a detailed analysis of a newly opened pork cutting plant over 1.5 years of activity. Results We identified a relatively restricted principal microbiota dominated by Pseudomonas during the first 2 months, while a higher taxonomic diversity, an increased representation of other taxa (e.g., Acinetobacter, Psychrobacter), and a certain degree of microbiome specialization on different surfaces was recorded later on. An increase in total abundance, alpha diversity, and β-dispersion of ARGs, which were predominantly assigned to Acinetobacter and associated with resistance to certain antimicrobials frequently used on pig farms of the region, was detected over time. Moreover, a sharp increase in the occurrence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcaceae was observed when cutting activities started. ARGs associated with resistance to β-lactams, tetracyclines, aminoglycosides, and sulphonamides frequently co-occurred, and mobile genetic elements (i.e., plasmids, integrons) and lateral gene transfer events were mainly detected at the later sampling times in drains. Conclusions The observations made suggest that pig carcasses were a source of resistant bacteria that then colonized FPE and that drains, together with some food-contact surfaces, such as equipment and table surfaces, represented a reservoir for the spread of ARGs in the meat processing facility. Video Abstract
    • 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.
    • Microbiome definition re-visited: old concepts and new challenges

      Berg, Gabriele; Rybakova, Daria; Fischer, Doreen; Cernava, Tomislav; Vergès, Marie-Christine C; Charles, Trevor; Chen, Xiaoyulong; Cocolin, Luca; Eversole, Kellye; Corral, Gema H; et al. (Biomed Central, 2020-06-30)
      Abstract The field of microbiome research has evolved rapidly over the past few decades and has become a topic of great scientific and public interest. As a result of this rapid growth in interest covering different fields, we are lacking a clear commonly agreed definition of the term “microbiome.” Moreover, a consensus on best practices in microbiome research is missing. Recently, a panel of international experts discussed the current gaps in the frame of the European-funded MicrobiomeSupport project. The meeting brought together about 40 leaders from diverse microbiome areas, while more than a hundred experts from all over the world took part in an online survey accompanying the workshop. This article excerpts the outcomes of the workshop and the corresponding online survey embedded in a short historical introduction and future outlook. We propose a definition of microbiome based on the compact, clear, and comprehensive description of the term provided by Whipps et al. in 1988, amended with a set of novel recommendations considering the latest technological developments and research findings. We clearly separate the terms microbiome and microbiota and provide a comprehensive discussion considering the composition of microbiota, the heterogeneity and dynamics of microbiomes in time and space, the stability and resilience of microbial networks, the definition of core microbiomes, and functionally relevant keystone species as well as co-evolutionary principles of microbe-host and inter-species interactions within the microbiome. These broad definitions together with the suggested unifying concepts will help to improve standardization of microbiome studies in the future, and could be the starting point for an integrated assessment of data resulting in a more rapid transfer of knowledge from basic science into practice. Furthermore, microbiome standards are important for solving new challenges associated with anthropogenic-driven changes in the field of planetary health, for which the understanding of microbiomes might play a key role. Video Abstract
    • The miRNAome of the postpartum dairy cow liver in negative energy balance

      Fatima, Attia; Lynn, David J; O'Boyle, Padraic; Seoighe, Cathal; Morris, Dermot G.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 2014-04-12)
      Background: Negative energy balance (NEB) is an altered metabolic state in high yielding cows that occurs during the first few weeks postpartum when energy demands for lactation and maintenance exceed the energy supply from dietary intake. NEB can, in turn, lead to metabolic disorders and to reduced fertility. Alterations in the expression of more than 700 hepatic genes have previously been reported in a study of NEB in postpartum dairy cows. miRNAs (microRNA) are known to mediate many alterations in gene expression post transcriptionally. To study the hepatic miRNA content of postpartum dairy cows, including their overall abundance and differential expression, in mild NEB (MNEB) and severe NEB (SNEB), short read RNA sequencing was carried out. To identify putative targets of differentially expressed miRNAs among differentially expressed hepatic genes reported previously in dairy cows in SNEB computational target identification was employed. Results: Our results indicate that the dairy cow liver expresses 53 miRNAs at a lower threshold of 10 reads per million. Of these, 10 miRNAs accounted for greater than 95% of the miRNAome (miRNA content). Of the highly expressed miRNAs, miR-122 constitutes 75% followed by miR-192 and miR-3596. Five out of thirteen let-7 miRNA family members are also among the highly expressed miRNAs. miR-143, down-regulated in SNEB, was found to have 4 putative up-regulated gene targets associated with SNEB including LRP2 (low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 2), involved in lipid metabolism and up-regulated in SNEB. Conclusions: This is the first liver miRNA-seq profiling study of moderate yielding dairy cows in the early postpartum period. Tissue specific miR-122 and liver enriched miR-192 are two of the most abundant miRNAs in the postpartum dairy cow liver. miR-143 is significantly down-regulated in SNEB and putative targets of miRNA-143 which are up-regulated in SNEB, include a gene involved in lipid metabolism.
    • Modelling phosphorus loss from agricultural catchments : a comparison of the performance of SWAT, HSPF and SHETRAN for the Clarianna catchment

      Nasr, Ahmed Elssidig; Bruen, Michael; Parkin, Geoff; Birkinshaw, Steve; Moles, Richard; Byrne, Paul; Environmental Protection Agency (IWA Publishing, 02/07/2012)
      Much research in Europe at present has been directed at generating and assessing modelling tools for use in catchment management, driven by the requirements and schedule of the Water Framework Directive. A logical first step is to assess the suitability of existing models for this task so that any resources used in generating new models can be targeted at actual modelling needs. Crucial questions, relating to the model structure and complexity and spatial and temporal scales required must also be addressed. This paper reports a comparison of the performance and suitability of three "off-the-shelf" distributed catchment models, each with a different level of complexity, applied to modelling phosphorous losses from the Clarianna catchment in Ireland. In this paper, the performance of three such models (SWAT, HSPF and SHETRAN/GOPC) is compared, both in estimating discharges and phosphorous loads in the Clarianna catchment. The flow comparison has showed that the HSPF model was the best in simulating the mean daily discharges. However, the best calibration results for daily total phosphorus loads in the study catchment has been achieved by the SWAT model.
    • Moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance exercise is safe and favorably influences body composition in patients with quiescent Inflammatory Bowel Disease: a randomized controlled cross-over trial

      Cronin, Owen; Barton, Wiley; Moran, Carthage; Sheehan, Donal; Whiston, Ronan; Nugent, Helena; McCarthy, Yvonne; Molloy, Catherine B; O’Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; et al. (2019-02-12)
      Background Overweight and metabolic problems now add to the burden of illness in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. We aimed to determine if a program of aerobic and resistance exercise could safely achieve body composition changes in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Methods A randomized, cross-over trial of eight weeks combined aerobic and resistance training on body composition assessed by Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry was performed. Patients in clinical remission and physically inactive with a mean age of 25 ± 6.5 years and Body Mass Index of 28.9 ± 3.8 were recruited from a dedicated Inflammatory Bowel Disease clinic. Serum cytokines were quantified, and microbiota assessed using metagenomic sequencing. Results Improved physical fitness was demonstrated in the exercise group by increases in median estimated VO2max (Baseline: 43.41mls/kg/min; post-intervention: 46.01mls/kg/min; p = 0.03). Improvement in body composition was achieved by the intervention group (n = 13) with a median decrease of 2.1% body fat compared with a non-exercising group (n = 7) (0.1% increase; p = 0.022). Lean tissue mass increased by a median of 1.59 kg and fat mass decreased by a median of 1.52 kg in the exercising group. No patients experienced a deterioration in disease activity scores during the exercise intervention. No clinically significant alterations in the α- and β-diversity of gut microbiota and associated metabolic pathways were evident. Conclusions Moderate-intensity combined aerobic and resistance training is safe in physically unfit patients with quiescent Inflammatory Bowel Disease and can quickly achieve favourable body compositional changes without adverse effects. Trial registration The study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov; Trial number: NCT02463916 .
    • Molecular genetic typing reveals further insights into the diversity of animal-associated Staphylococcus aureus

      Smyth, Cyril James; Hartigan, James Patrick (Society for General Microbiology, 2012-07-02)
      Staphylococcus aureus is an important pathogen of man, but is also able to colonize and cause disease in a wide variety of mammals and birds. An extended multilocus sequencing approach, involving multilocus sequence typing (MLST), sas typing, spa typing and agr typing, was used to examine the molecular diversity of 118 S. aureus isolates recovered from a range of host species and to compare these data with the known diversity of human-derived isolates. MLST revealed that the commonest animal-associated MLST types were ST133, ST5, ST71, ST97, ST126 and ST151. ST133 appears to be an ungulate-animal-specific genotype, as no evidence of ST133 associating with humans has yet been found in the literature. Novel and unique sas alleles were identified in the animal-associated strains that may represent animal-associated sas alleles. However, sas typing exhibited a lower typeability than MLST for the animal strains (91.3 %). Phylogenetic analyses using neighbour-joining and maximum-parsimony trees localized ruminant-associated MLST lineages to both previously identified S. aureus subspecies aureus subgroups, thus explaining the finding of all four agr types within the ruminant-associated strains. S. aureus isolates recovered from chickens and rabbits were genotypically more similar to known human genotypes than the ruminant-associated lineages.
    • Molecular-genetic characterization of human parvovirus B19 prevalent in Kerala State, India

      Seetha, Dayakar; Pillai, Heera R; Nori, Sai R C; Kalpathodi, Sanu G; Thulasi, Vineetha P; Nair, Radhakrishnan R; Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Trivandrum. (Biomed Central, 2021-05-05)
      Background Human parvovirus B19V is a DNA virus, and a member of the family Parvoviridae, that causes various clinical manifestations, from asymptomatic to persistent infection that is associated with different autoimmune diseases. The parvovirus B19 evolves with a very high mutation rate that is closer to those of existing RNA viruses. Globally circulating B19V is currently classified into three genotypes, but their distribution is not spatially and temporally correlated. Except for a few recent reports on B19V entry into the human host and its genetic diversity, there is a lack of sufficient studies on this virus from distinct geographical locations and no clear understanding of its evolution has been documented. Methods To better understand the evolution of the Human parvo B19V virus from India's southern part, a geographically distinct location with no reports of B19V genomes, we have screened for B19V in 456 suspected cases using VP1/2 surface marker genes, and its characteristics were studied in detail. Amongst 456 clinically suspected B19V samples, 7.2% (33/456) were found positive by nested PCR (nPCR) were subsequently validated by real-time PCR, Sanger sequencing, and metagenome analysis. Results Human parvovirus B19 infection was shown among 33 of 456 patients when tested by nPCR; 30 among these were also positive by qPCR and were subsequently confirmed by sequencing 75% nPCR positive samples and 76% qPCR positive samples were from patients with age. ≥ 50 years respectively (Additional file 1: Table S1). The complete VP1/2 gene assembly from the South Indian strain showed three novel mutations (T122A, V128I, I283V), which might significantly impact the stability and virulence of the B19V virus circulating in this part of the world. These mutations might be crucial for its adaptive evolutionary strategies facilitating the spread and infectivity potential of the virus. In maximum likelihood phylogeny of VP1/2 sequences, the South Indian B19V strain forms a separate clade closer to the existing genotype two strains circulating worldwide. Conclusion Our study contributes to a better understanding of the human parvovirus's genetic and evolutionary characteristics in South India. Also, it highlights the possibility that a positive selection pressure acting on VP1/2 could increase the survival and replication capabilities of the viruses.
    • Monitoring post mortem changes in porcine muscle through 2-D DIGE proteome analysis of Longissimus muscle exudate

      Di Luca, Alessio; Elia, Giuliano; Mullen, Anne Maria; Hamill, Ruth M; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; 06RDNUIG470 (Biomed Central, 20/03/2013)
      Background: Meat quality is a complex trait influenced by a range of factors with post mortem biochemical processes highly influential in defining ultimate quality. High resolution two-dimensional DIfference Gel Electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) and Western blot were applied to study the influence of post mortem meat ageing on the proteome of pork muscle. Exudate collected from the muscle following centrifugation was analysed at three timepoints representing a seven day meat ageing period. Results: The intensity of 136 spots varied significantly (p < 0.05) across this post mortem period and 40 spots were identified using mass spectrometry. The main functional categories represented were metabolic proteins, stress-related proteins, transport and structural proteins. Metabolic and structural proteins were generally observed to increase in abundance post mortem and many likely represent the accumulation of the degradation products of proteolytic enzyme activity. In contrast, stress-related proteins broadly decreased in abundance across the ageing period. Stress response proteins have protective roles in maintaining cellular integrity and a decline in their abundance over time may correlate with a reduction in cellular integrity and the onset of meat ageing. Since cellular conditions alter with muscle ageing, changes in solubility may also contribute to observed abundance profiles. Conclusions: Muscle exudate provided valuable information about the pathways and processes underlying the post mortem ageing period, highlighting the importance of post mortem modification of proteins and their interaction for the development of meat quality traits.
    • Multi-criteria and Decision Support Systems in support of the Water Framework Directive in Ireland

      Bruen, Michael; Nasr, Ahmed Elssidig (2012-07-02)
      The current challenge in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Ireland is to introduce programmes of measures that will address the targeted environmental objectives in each River Basin District (RBD). Introduction of such programmes requires that proposed measures be thoroughly evaluated and that decisions will involve multiple criteria and must include stakeholders preferences and opinions. Decision Support Systems (DSS) facilitate this process. Many such systems have been developed and used in relation to water quality. In addition to their technical, modeling, benefits, DSS can also form the basis of systems to communicate options, benefits and damages to stakeholders and to receive feedback on their attitudes and preferences. Such systems could also be involved in facilitating the subsequent negotiations and resulting compromises. In Ireland, a new research project, Wincoms, has commenced which will address these aspects and will provide recommendations for suitable systems to be used in Ireland.
    • Myosin-cross-reactive antigen (MCRA) protein from Bifidobacterium breve is a FAD-dependent fatty acid hydratase which has a function in stress protection

      Rosberg-Cody, Eva; Liavonchanka, Alena; Gobel, Cornelia; Ross, R Paul; O'Sullivan, Orla; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Feussner, Ivo; STANTON, CATHERINE (Biomed Central, 17/02/2011)
      Background The aim of this study was to determine the catalytic activity and physiological role of myosin-cross-reactive antigen (MCRA) from Bifidobacterium breve NCIMB 702258. MCRA from B. breve NCIMB 702258 was cloned, sequenced and expressed in heterologous hosts (Lactococcus and Corynebacterium) and the recombinant proteins assessed for enzymatic activity against fatty acid substrates. Results MCRA catalysed the conversion of palmitoleic, oleic and linoleic acids to the corresponding 10-hydroxy fatty acids, but shorter chain fatty acids were not used as substrates, while the presence of trans-double bonds and double bonds beyond the position C12 abolished hydratase activity. The hydroxy fatty acids produced were not metabolised further. We also found that heterologous Lactococcus and Corynebacterium expressing MCRA accumulated increasing amounts of 10-HOA and 10-HOE in the culture medium. Furthermore, the heterologous cultures exhibited less sensitivity to heat and solvent stresses compared to corresponding controls. Conclusions MCRA protein in B. breve can be classified as a FAD-containing double bond hydratase, within the carbon-oxygen lyase family, which may be catalysing the first step in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) production, and this protein has an additional function in bacterial stress protection.
    • A nationwide survey of anthelmintic treatment failure on sheep farms in Ireland

      Keegan, Jason D; Keane, Orla M; Good, Barbara; de Waal, Theo; Denny, Marian; Hanrahan, James P; Fitzgerald, William; Sheehan, Maresa; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Biomed Central, 2017-02-09)
      Background Between 2013 and 2015 the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) administered a sheep technology adoption programme (STAP), with the aim of increasing profitability on Irish sheep farms by encouraging the adoption of best management practices. One of the options available to STAP participants was to test the efficacy of the anthelmintic treatment (benzimadazole, levamisole or macrocyclic lactone) used in their flocks by means of a drench test, which is a modification of the faecal egg count reduction test; individual faecal samples were collected from the same group of lambs before and after anthelmintic treatment, the number of eggs present pre and post treatment was subsequently determined from a pooled sample. Results In total, 4211 drench tests were undertaken by farmers during the 3 years of the programme. Information on the anthelmintic product used was available for 3771 of these tests; anthelmintics from the classes benzimidazole (BZ), levamisole (LV) and macrocyclic lactone (ML) (avermectins (AVM) plus moxidectin (MOX)) were used in 42.0%, 23.4% and 32.5% of tests, respectively. The remaining 2.1% of tests involved an inappropriate product. The efficacy of treatment against ‘other trichostrongyles’ (excluding Nematodirus spp and Strongyloides papillosus.) could be established for 1446 tests, and 51% of these tests were considered effective (i.e. a reduction of faecal egg count (FEC) ≥ 95%). There was a significant difference among the drug groups in efficacy; 31.5%, 51.9%, 62.5% and 84% of treatments were considered effective for BZ, LV, AVM, MOX, respectively. The efficacy of treatment against Nematodirus spp. could be established for 338 tests and the overall efficacy was 96%. Conclusions Due to the significant difference among the anthelmintic classes for efficacy against ‘other trichostrongyles’ along with the high level of efficacy against Nematodirus spp., a genus for which anthelmintic resistance is rarely reported, it is concluded that anthelmintic resistance was responsible for the majority of the anthelmintic treatment failures observed.
    • Nematode control in suckler beef cattle over their first two grazing seasons using a targeted selective treatment approach

      O'Shaughnessy, James; Earley, Bernadette; Mee, John F; Doherty, Michael L.; Crosson, Paul; Barrett, Damien; de Waal, Theo; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 2015-06-18)
      Background With concerns over the development of anthelmintic resistance in cattle nematode populations, we must re-examine our approach to nematode control in cattle. Targeted selective treatments (TST), whereby individual animals are treated instead of entire groups, are being investigated as an alternative. The study objective was to determine if anthelmintic usage could be reduced using a TST-based approach to nematode control in spring-born suckler beef cattle over their first and second grazing seasons (SGS) without affecting performance. In the first grazing season (FGS), 99 calves with an initial mean (s.d.) calf age and live weight on day 0 (June 28th 2012) of 107 (23.1) days and 160 (32.5) kg, respectively, were used. The study commenced on day 0 when calves were randomised and allocated to one of two treatments; 1), standard treatment (control) and 2), TST. Control calves were treated subcutaneously with ivermectin on days 0, 41 and 82 in the FGS. All calves were treated with ivermectin on day 124 and housed on day 133. In the SGS, only heifer calves from the FGS were used and control heifers were treated with ivermectin on day 393. Animals were weighed, blood and faecal sampled every three weeks. The TST animals were treated with ivermectin if thresholds based on a combination of plasma pepsinogen concentrations, faecal egg count and/or the presence of Dictyocaulus viviparus larvae in faeces (FGS only) were reached. Results No TST calves reached the treatment threshold criteria in the FGS. The FGS average daily live weight gain (ADG ± s.e.m.) for control and TST group calves was 0.89 ± 0.02 kg and 0.94 ± 0.02 kg day−1, respectively (P = 0.17). In the SGS, all heifers were treated with ivermectin on day 431 due to clinical signs of respiratory disease. The ADG for control and TST heifers from turnout on day 321 to day 431 was 0.90 ± 0.04 and 0.80 ± 0.04 kg day−1, respectively (P = 0.03). Conclusions Spring-born FGS suckler beef calves require minimal anthelmintic treatment to maintain performance. In contrast, clinical parasitic disease may develop in the SGS unless appropriate anthelmintic treatment is provided.
    • Offspring subcutaneous adipose markers are sensitive to the timing of maternal gestational weight gain

      Giblin, Linda; Darimont, Christian; Leone, Patricia; McNamara, Louise B.; Blancher, Florence; Berry, Donagh; Castaneda-Gutierrez, Euridice; Lawlor, Peadar G; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 08/03/2015)
      Background Excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy impacts on offspring health. This study focused on the timing of maternal gestational weight gain, using a porcine model with mothers of normal pre-pregnancy weight. Methods Trial design ensured the trajectory of maternal gestational weight gain differed across treatments in early, mid and late gestation. Diet composition did not differ. On day 25 gestation, sows were assigned to one of five treatments: Control sows received a standard gestation diet of 2.3 kg/day (30 MJ DE/day) from early to late gestation (day 25–110 gestation). E sows received 4.6 kg food/day in early gestation (day 25–50 gestation). M sows doubled their food intake in mid gestation (day 50–80 gestation). EM sows doubled their food intake during both early and mid gestation (day 25–80 gestation). L sows consumed 3.5 kg food/day in late gestation (day 80–110 gestation). Offspring body weight and food intake levels were measured from birth to adolescence. Markers of lipid metabolism, hypertrophy and inflammation were investigated in subcutaneous adipose tissue of adolescent offspring. Results The trajectory of gestational weight gain differed across treatments. However total gestational weight gain did not differ except for EM sows who were the heaviest and fattest mothers at parturition. Offspring birth weight did not differ across treatments. Subcutaneous adipose tissue from EM offspring differed significantly from controls, with elevated mRNA levels of lipogenic (CD36, ACACB and LPL), nutrient transporters (FABP4 and GLUT4), lipolysis (HSL and ATGL), adipocyte size (MEST) and inflammation (PAI-1) indicators. The subcutaneous adipose depot from L offspring exhibited elevated levels of CD36, ACACB, LPL, GLUT4 and FABP4 mRNA transcripts compared to control offspring. Conclusions Increasing gestational weight gain in early gestation had the greatest impact on offspring postnatal growth rate. Increasing maternal food allowance in late gestation appeared to shift the offspring adipocyte focus towards accumulation of fat. Mothers who gained the most weight during gestation (EM mothers) gave birth to offspring whose subcutaneous adipose tissue, at adolescence, appeared hyperactive compared to controls. This study concluded that mothers, who gained more than the recommended weight gain in mid and late gestation, put their offspring adipose tissue at risk of dysfunction.
    • An on-farm investigation of beef suckler herds using an animal welfare index (AWI)

      Mazurek, Mickael; Prendiville, Daniel J.; Crowe, Mark A; Veissier, Isabelle; Earley, Bernadette (Biomed Central, 2010-12-13)
      Background: Beef suckler farms (194 farms throughout 13 counties) were assessed once with housed cattle and once with cattle at grass using an animal welfare index (AWI). Twenty-three of the 194 farms were revisited a year later and re-evaluated using the AWI and the Tier-Gerechtheits-Index 35L/2000 (TGI35L/2000). Thirty-three indicators were collected in five categories: locomotion (5 indicators); social interactions (between animals) (7), flooring (5), environment (7) and Stockpersonship (9). Three indicators relating to the size of the farm were also collected. Improving animal welfare is an increasingly important aspect of livestock production systems predominantly due to increased consumer concern about the source of animal products. The objectives were (i) to evaluate animal welfare of Irish beef suckler herds using an animal welfare index (AWI), (ii) to examine correlations between parameters, how they influence the AWI and investigate the applicability of the parameters used, (iii) to investigate the impact of the activity of the farmer (full-time or part-time), the interest of the farmer and the number of animals on the AWI. Results: The mean AWI was 65% and ranged from 54% to 83%. The grazing period represented 16.5% of the total points of the AWI. Seventy percent of the farms were rated as "Very Good" or "Excellent". There was no difference (P > 0.05) in AWI between full-time and part-time farmers. Part-time farmers had greater (P = 0.01) "social interactions": calving (P = 0.03) and weaning (P < 0.001) scores. Full-time farmers had cleaner animals (P = 0.03) and their animals had less lameness (P = 0.01). The number of animals on-farm and the interest of the Stockperson were negatively and positively correlated (P = 0.001), respectively, with the AWI. A hierarchical classification was performed to examine how the indicators influenced the AWI. Conclusion: The AWI was easily applicable for an on-farm evaluation of welfare. The Stockpersonship was an important factor in determining the AWI (11% of the total variation) more specifically, the interest of the farmer. Part and full-time farming did not differ (P > 0.05) in AWI scores. This method could, with further development, be used in countries with both intensive and/or extensive production systems and would require substantially less resources than animal-based methods.