• Confirmation of co-denitrification in grazed grassland

      Selbie, Diana R.; Lanigan, Gary; Laughlin, Ronald J.; Di, Hong J.; Moir, James L.; Cameron, Keith C.; Clough, Tim J.; Watson, Catherine J.; Grant, Jim; Somers, Cathal; Richards, Karl G.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; RSF 07536 (Nature Publishing Group, 30/11/2015)
      Pasture-based livestock systems are often associated with losses of reactive forms of nitrogen (N) to the environment. Research has focused on losses to air and water due to the health, economic and environmental impacts of reactive N. Di-nitrogen (N2) emissions are still poorly characterized, both in terms of the processes involved and their magnitude, due to financial and methodological constraints. Relatively few studies have focused on quantifying N2 losses in vivo and fewer still have examined the relative contribution of the different N2 emission processes, particularly in grazed pastures. We used a combination of a high 15N isotopic enrichment of applied N with a high precision of determination of 15N isotopic enrichment by isotope-ratio mass spectrometry to measure N2 emissions in the field. We report that 55.8 g N m−2 (95%, CI 38 to 77 g m−2) was emitted as N2 by the process of co-denitrification in pastoral soils over 123 days following urine deposition (100 g N m−2), compared to only 1.1 g N m−2 (0.4 to 2.8 g m−2) from denitrification. This study provides strong evidence for co-denitrification as a major N2 production pathway, which has significant implications for understanding the N budgets of pastoral ecosystems.
    • Control and detection of food-borne pathogens

      Duffy, Geraldine; Cloak, Orla; Sheridan, James J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, 1998-08)
      The objective of this study was to develop rapid methods for the detection of bacteria from food.
    • The Development and/or Validation of Novel Intervention Technologies to Assure Meat Food Safety

      Bolton, Declan J.; Byrne, Brian; Lyng, James; Downey, Gerard; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Food Safety Authority of Ireland (Teagasc, 01/02/2007)
      This project was undertaken to fill some of the knowledge gaps in meat food safety from farm to fork. The data provide the scientific basis for a clean sheep policy to reduce the impact of fleece as a source of microbial contamination on ovine carcasses at the beginning of the slaughter process. At the other end of the slaughter-line, a polyurethane sponge swabbing technology was developed for ovine and bovine carcass sampling as required in 2001/471/EC and the new European Commission Hygiene Regulations. At the processing stages, studies were undertaken to determine the most effective media for the recovery and culture of Cl. perfringens cells and spores; the results were then applied to thermal inactivation studies on these bacteria. Thermal resistance data were also obtained for Bacillus cereus and a radio frequency cook for meat products was validated in terms of the destruction of Cl. perfringens and B. cereus cells and spores. Finally, an aerobiology study investigated the effectiveness of a range on measures to prevent air acting as a vector for bacterial dispersion in a meat processing plant.
    • Development of HACCP analysis systems for beef slaughter

      Doherty, Alice M.; McEvoy, John M.; Sheridan, James J.; McGuire, Liam; O'Sullivan, Marian; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, 1999-01)
      The aim of this study was to establish the types and levels of bacterial contamination on beef carcasses slaughtered under commercial conditions. This information is necessary as baseline data for the implementation of a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan in a meat factory. Samples were taken over a twelve month period from five carcass sites representing the fore and hind quarters of the carcass. These included the hock, bung, inside round, cranial back and brisket. The carcasses were sampled at different stages of dressing namely legging, hide removal, evisceration, carcass splitting, carcass washing and chilling (24 h later). Four meat cuts (inside round, outside round, chuck roll (cranial back) and brisket) were also sampled after boning. Counts were enumerated for the following groups of bacteria: total bacterial counts (25°C and 4°C); pseudomonad counts (25°C and 4°C); E nterobacteriaceae counts; E scherichia coli O157:H7 and L isteria spp.
    • Enzyme Modified Cheese Flavour Ingredients

      Wilkinson, M.; Kilcawley, Kieran N; Mulholland, E.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, 01/09/2000)
      Enzyme-modified cheeses (EMCs) are defined as concentrated cheese flavours produced enzymatically from cheeses of various ages and are principally used as an ingredient in processed foods, where they provide a cost-effective alternative to natural cheese. They can be used as the sole source of cheese flavour to intensify an existing cheese taste, or to impart a specific cheese character to a more bland product. Their main applications are in processed cheese, analogue cheese, cheese spreads, snack foods, soups, sauces, biscuits, dips and pet foods. Their main advantages over other cheese flavour ingredients are: low production costs, consistency, high flavour intensity, diverse flavour range, extended shelf- life, low storage costs and increased functionality. EMCs are generated utilising the same flavour pathways that occur in natural cheese ripening i.e. proteolysis, lipolysis and glycolysis. They are not as easy to differentiate as natural cheeses, as they are characterised by flavour and aroma alone as texture is not a factor in EMC production. The relationship of the flavour of EMCs to the flavour of the corresponding natural cheese remains unclear. This is especially true for Cheddar EMC which is commercially available in a range of Cheddar flavours . Despite the fact that a wide range of commercial EMCs are available, there is very little detailed information available regarding their properties or the specific production processes used. The main objective of this research was to build a knowledge base on EMC products and to utilise this to develop a biotechnological process for the production of improved enzyme modified cheeses for use as flavour ingredients. The strategy was to establish quantitative relationships between the compositional, proteolytic and lipolytic parameters and the sensory characteristics of EMCs. This data would then be used to develop a predictive model for flavour development in EMC production and the subsequent generation of an optimised EMC process enabling the generation of a range of cheese flavours from single or multiple substrates.
    • An Examination of the contribution of off-farm income to the viability and sustainability of farm households and the productivity of farm businesses

      Behan, Jasmina; Carroll, James; Hennessy, Thia; Keeney, Mary; Newman, Carol; O'Brien, Mark; Thorne, Fiona; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      The number of farm households in Ireland participating in the off-farm labour market has increased significantly in the last decade. According to the National Farm Survey (NFS), the number of farm households where the spouse and/or operator is working off-farm has increased from 37 per cent in 1995 to 58 per cent in 2007. The important contribution of non-farm income to viability of farm households is highlighted in the results of the Agri-Vision 2015 report, which concluded that the number of economically viable farm businesses is in decline and that a significant proportion of farm households are sustainable only because of the presence of off-farm income. Research conducted by Hennessy (2004) demonstrated that approximately 40 percent of farm households have an off-farm income and that almost 30 percent of the farming population are only sustainable because of off-farm income. Clearly, the future viability and sustainability of a large number of farm households depends on the ability of farmers and their spouses’ to secure and retain gainful off-farm employment. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) have recognised the importance of off-farm income to the sector and they have recommended that future policies focus on farm household viability in all its dimensions, including farm and off-farm income sources (2000).
    • HACCP for Irish beef, pork and lamb slaughter

      Bolton, Declan J.; Sheridan, James J.; US-Ireland Co-operation Programme in Agriculture Science and Technology; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, 2002-02)
      It is generally accepted that HACCP principles should be incorporated into the food safety control systems in meat processing plants to better assure food safety. The objective of this project was to publish detailed HACCP slaughter documents for the Irish beef, pork and lamb processing industries. These would provide the necessary information and detail to facilitate the implementation of HACCP on the slaughter floor (from lairage to chilling) in Irish meat plants. To this end `HACCP for Irish Beef Slaughter' was published in October 2000, `HACCP for Irish Pork Slaughter' in December 2001 and `HACCP for Irish Lamb Slaughter' will be available early in 2002. These are non-generic, detailed documents which provide the scientific basis for establishing critical control points (CCP), critical limits, monitoring and corrective action procedures.
    • Identification Of Environmental Variables For Use In Monitoring For The Evaluation Of The Rural Environment Protection Scheme

      Finn, John A.; Kavanagh, B.; Flynn, M.; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; 2001-EEA/DS10-M2 (Teagasc, 01/04/2005)
      The aim of this study was to identify and select quantitative environmental attributes for a monitoring programme that may be integrated into an environmental evaluation of Ireland’s agri-environmental scheme. This was achieved primarily by reviewing a range of agri-environmental indicators and suggesting indicators that would be appropriate for monitoring the REPS. The study conducted a desk review to collate information on current best practice in monitoring for environmental quality. A Project Group (comprising representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], Department of Agriculture and Food [DAF], Teagasc, and the project supervisors) advised on the ongoing development of the project. There was a consultation process with national experts, and with a selection of stakeholder organisations with an interest in monitoring the environmental impact of the REPS.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Risk-based determination of critical control points for pork slaughter

      Bolton, Declan J.; Pearce, Rachel; Sheridan, James J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, 2002-05)
      To identify the critical control points (CCPs) during commercial pork slaughter, 60 pigs in a small abattoir (80 pigs per day) and a similar number in a larger plant (2000 pigs per day) and/or their resultant carcasses were swabbed at the ham, belly and neck. The total bacterial contamination was determined after each stage from the live pigs on the farm to chilling of the carcasses in the abattoir.
    • Supercritical fluid extraction of veterinary drug residues from meat

      O'Keeffe, Mandy J.; O'Keeffe, Michael; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, 1999-10)
      Extraction is a key step in the analysis of food samples for residues of veterinary drugs. Over the last ten years there has been increasing interest in alternatives to the use of organic solvents for sample extraction. The development of supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) for the determination of residues in meat provides alternative methods, which may be automated and which have attractive properties such as avoidance of organic solvents and increased speed of extraction. This project is a jointly-funded United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture and Food activity with the objective of developing robust SFE procedures suitable for the quantitative recovery of ß-agonists (illegal growth promoters) from animal tissue. Fundamental aspects of SFE in its application to residue analysis are also addressed.