• National Soils Database

      Fay, Deirdre; McGrath, David; Zhang, Chaosheng; Carrigg, Cora; O'Flaherty, Vincent; Kramers, Gaelene; Carton, Owen T.; Grennan, Eamonn J. (Teagasc, 01/07/2007)
      The objectives of the National Soils Database project were fourfold. The first was to generate a national database of soil geochemistry to complete the work that commenced with a survey of the South East of Ireland carried out in 1995 and 1996 by Teagasc (McGrath and McCormack, 1999). Secondly, to produce point and interpolated spatial distribution maps of major, minor and trace elements and to interpret these with respect to underlying parent material, glacial geology, land use and possible anthropogenic effects. A third objective was to investigate the microbial community structure in a range of soil types to determine the relationship between soil microbiology and chemistry. The final objective was to establish a National Soils Archive.
    • 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 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.
    • A New Direction for the Payment of Milk: Technological and Seasonality Considerations in Multiple Component Milk Pricing of Milk (Liquid and Manufacturing) for a Diversifying Dairy Industry

      Breen, J.; Wallace, Michael; Crosse, Seamus; O'Callaghan, Donal (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      The main objectives of this study were to compare a Multiple Component Pricing system with the current milk pricing practice in Ireland and to estimate the marginal values of the three main milk components (fat, protein and lactose) in the context of the Irish milk processing industry. A representative linear programming model of an average Irish milk processor was developed in order to determine the marginal values of the milk components and to compare the value of milk under the Multiple Component Pricing system with the value under the current milk pricing practice. This study also examined the effect of product mix, milk supply and milk composition on the marginal value of the milk components.
    • 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 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 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.
    • 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.
    • Nitrous Oxide Emissions

      Hyde, Bernard; Ryan, Mary; Hawkins, M.; Connolly, John; Carton, Owen T.; Environmental Protection Agency (Teagasc, 01/04/2005)
      Nitrous oxide (N2O) is one of the three most important greenhouse gases (GHG). Nitrous oxide emissions currently account for approximately one third of GHG emissions from agriculture in Ireland. Emissions of N2O arise naturally from soil sources and from the application of nitrogen (N) in the form of N fertilizers and N in dung and urine deposition by grazing animals at pasture. Nitrous oxide emission measurements were conducted at three different scales. Firstly, a large-scale field experiment was undertaken to compare emission rates from a pasture receiving three different rates of N fertilizer application and to identify the effects of controlling variables over a two-year period. Variation in emission rates was large both within and between years. Two contrasting climatic years were identified. The cooler and wetter conditions in year 1 gave rise to considerably lower emission levels than the warmer and drier year 2. However, in both years, peak emissions were associated with fertilizer N applications coincident with rainfall events in the summer months. A small-plot study was conducted to identify the individual and combined effects of fertilizer, dung and urine applications to grassland. Treatment effects were however, difficult to obtain due to the overriding effects of environmental variables. Thirdly, through the use of a small-scale mini-lysimeter study, the diurnal nature of N2O emission rates was identified for two distinct periods during the year. The occurrence of a diurnal pattern has important implications for the identification of a measurement period during the day which is representative of the true daily flux. The research presented aims to identify the nature and magnitude of N2O emissions and the factors which affect emission rates from a grassland in Ireland. Further work is required to integrate the effects of different soil types and contrasting climatic regimes across soil types on N2O emissions.
    • Novel and Speciality Cheeses - Broadening the National Cheese Base

      Sheehan, Diarmuid (JJ); Wilkinson, M.G.; Beresford, Tom; Meehan, Hilary; Cowan, Cathal; Delahunty, Conor; McSweeney, Paul L. H.; Kelly, Alan L. (Teagasc, 2002-04-01)
      The Irish dairy industry is considered vulnerable to the price pressures of the commodity market, on which it is highly dependent. Hence, a broadening of the product base, would reduce exposure to this market while offering the potential of exploiting the lucrative added value market. This involves risks and challenges. The cheese market in particular continues to grow and investment in innovative products have in some cases been highly successful. However, a number of obstacles confront Irish cheese manufacturers. These include: seasonality of milk supply, strong tradition of Cheddar production, knowledge gaps in industrial-scale specialty cheese manufacture, and a reticence to commit significant investment, particularly in plant. To address some of these obstacles a project was undertaken with the overall objective of developing a range of cheeses with novel flavour, texture and appearance which were complementary to existing manufacturing plant and technologies. The project was built on the knowledge, skills base and flexible cheese manufacturing plant developed in a previous study (see DPRC Report No. 9), and had the following specific objectives: * assess consumer preferences, * develop a range of novel cheeses capable of being manufactured wholly, or in part, on existing plant, * determine the effects of manipulation of process variables on novel hybrid composition and ripening, * assess market potential and consumer reaction to selected cheeses, * determine the relationships between cheese composition and sensory characteristics, and * present product options to Irish industry.
    • Novel Milk Protein Ingredients.

      Kelly, Philip; O'Kennedy, Brendan; Cribbin, M. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      The manufacture of casein/caseinates containing whey protein is immediately attractive due to its potential to enhance product yield. However, some technologies capable of producing these products are ineligible for manufacturing subsidy because of restrictions pertaining to relevant EU regulations. Other emerging technologies require refinement and process design before implementation at industrial level. Furthermore, the implications of incorporating virtually the entire complement of whey protein in what is essentially a caseinate ingredient needs to be investigated carefully in terms of the versatility of use in a wide range of food formulations. The development is significant in the context of U.S. market changes - traditionally, an important outlet for Irish casein exports amounting to 20,000 - 27,000 t per annum. Ireland accounts for ~ 30% of EU casein/caseinate production with the greater proportion in Rennet form (27,000 t) and the remainder (18,000 t) as Acid casein. In recent years, a new market for a related casein ingredient - milk protein concentrate (MPC) opened up in the US, and accounted for total imports of 40,000 t in 1998, 10,000 t of which were exported from Ireland. However, this market is more restricted due to regulatory changes introduced in response to the perceived threat of MPC imports to the US dairy industry. Since casein, or its derivative products such as milk proteinate (EU Annex III compliant), are not perceived to be in competition with local milk supplies and dairy ingredients, it is now hoped that Irish casein manufacturers may be able to reclaim recently lost markets through the introduction of an innovative proteinate ingredient which is expected to command a premium in nutrition applications e.g. in sports, infant formula and nutraceutical products. With a choice of emerging new technologies for the production of novel casein-related ingredients, the dairy industry has an opportunity to decide on what is appropriate for the defence of its market share and at the same time benefit from simultaneous compliance with relevant regulatory supports (EU) and market access rules (USA). Hence the main aims of this project were: * To investigate new technologies for the isolation of casein and casein/whey protein combinations in the course of developing new milk protein ingredients, and * To compare the performance in selected food formulations of novel milk protein ingredients namely milk proteinates, milk protein concentrates, native phosphocasein and classical Annex III casein products.
    • Nutrient management on intensive dairy farms in the southwest of Ireland

      Humphreys, James; Tracey, Mark; McNamara, Kevin (Teagasc, 2006-08-01)
      Intensive grass-based dairy farming relies on high inputs of nutrients that are now regulated under SI 378, 2006 (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters). This project studied nutrient management practices on twenty-one intensive dairy farms in the south-west of Ireland between 2003 and 2006. Mean stocking rate was 202 kg organic-N/ha deposited by grazing livestock. Overall fertiliser-N use on the farms decreased from 266 to 223 kg N/ha/yr during the study, with the rate of fertiliser-N in the first application each year decreasing from 49 to 33 kg N/ha, while the rate of fertiliser-N applied for first cut silage production also fell from 106 to 96 kg N/ha. These decreases were partly achieved by applying more slurry in springtime and by the introduction of white clover on five of the farms. While the limits on fertiliser-N use under SI 378 were exceeded on ten farms in 2003, the limits were exceeded on only two farms in 2006. Fertiliser-P usage declined from 12.0 to 10.2 kg P/ha/yr, and complied with the limits of SI 378 on thirteen of the farms in 2006. Mean Morgan’s extractable soil P concentration (STP) exceeded 10 mg/l on five farms, while the mean concentration exceeded 8 mg/l on ten farms. Phosphorus management, therefore, was close to that required by SI 378 on most farms. Slurry storage capacity met or exceeded the minimum requirements of SI 378 on eight farms; substantial investment in slurry storage facilities was necessary on thirteen farms. The mean N surplus on the farms declined from 277 to 232 kg N/ha/yr during the study due to a decline in total N input from 335 to 288 kg N/ha/yr over the same period. The mean efficiency of N-use increased from 17.9 to 20.2 %. The large variation in rates of fertiliser-N applied on farms with similar stocking rates suggests potential for further improvements in N use efficiency on some farms. Decreases in nutrient input levels can be partly attributed to increased farmer awareness, due to advice and record keeping from this study and the introduction of SI 378, and the increasing cost of nutrient inputs relative to output prices. In terms of fertiliser N and P use and soil P concentrations, complying with the limits in SI 378 does not require major changes in nutrient management practices on the majority of these intensive dairy farms.
    • Nutrient management planning on Irish dairy farms

      Mounsey, J.; Sheehy, J.; Carton, Owen T.; O'Toole, Paul W. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The objective of the work undertaken was to investigate nutrient use on intensive dairy farms. A survey of 12 dairy farms was undertaken in 1997 to determine nutrient management practices. These were compared with current nutrient advice and recommended practices. Data recording was completed by the farmer and supplemented by regular farm visits to assist with and validate the process. The mean farm size was 64.8 ha with an average of 128 cows and an annual milk yield per cow of 5594 kg. The mean stocking rate was 2.58 Livestock Units/ha. Dairy cows accounted for highest proportion of the total livestock with most of the younger stock consisting of dairy replacements. Approximately 80% of soil P levels were greater than 6 mg/l while 67% of soils had soil K levels in excess of 100 mg/l. The mean soil P and K levels on the grazing and silage areas were 11 and 128 mg/l, 12 and 117 mg/l, respectively. The mean farm nutrient balance (inputs - outputs) established an annual surplus of N, P and K of 304, 18 and 53 kg/ha, respectively. The adoption of nutrient management plans instead of current practice would reduce N, P and K inputs on average by 44, 13 and 24 kg/ha, respectively. The use of the Teagasc revised P nutrient advice would further reduce the P input requirements by 2 kg/ha. On average the farms had 90% of the 16 week slurry storage capacity. Approximately 14, 42, 14 and 31% of the slurry was applied in spring, summer, autumn and winter, respectively. In all cases there was significant between farm variability. The soil P fertility on the survey farms is skewed towards index 3 and 4 when compared with the average for all samples received at Johnstown Castle. There is no agronomic advantage in terms of crop or animal production for soils to have P levels in excess 10 mg/l. This result indicates that P inputs to farms of this type can be reduced in many cases without prejudicing production potential. The nutrient balance conducted highlighted the extent of the nutrient surpluses and the between farm variability. The data suggest that there is not a serious nutrient surplus on the survey farms, which would require the use of additional off-farm land for slurry recycling, as obtains on pig and poultry farms. The study also indicates that although farm unit cost savings may be small in adopting nutrient management planning, overall farm savings may be significant. For example on the survey farms, savings of up to £2,000 can be achieved apart from the obvious positive environmental impact.
    • Nutrition and Oestrus and Ovarian Cycles in Cattle

      Diskin, Michael G.; Stagg, K.; Mackey, D.R.; Roche, J.F.; Sreenan, J.M. (Teagasc, 1999-12-01)
      The overall objective of this project was to establish the effects of both long- and short-term changes in nutrition on ovarian follicle dynamics and on the systemic concentrations of metabolic and reproductive hormones. In order to avoid the confounding effects of lactation, suckling and maternal–calf bonding, beef heifers were used in a series of three studies.
    • Nutrition: Nutritional Attributes of Animal and Milk Fat (CLA).

      STANTON, CATHERINE; Lawless, Fergal; Murphy, John; Aherne, Seamus; Devery, Rosaleen; O'Shea, Marianne (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      In the recent past, there has been considerable interest in the potential health-promoting properties of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid produced naturally in ruminant animals. CLA has been shown to be a very effective anti-cancer agent in animal models and cell culture studies, as well as being capable of retarding the initiation and progression of heart disease (atherosclerosis). It has also been shown to have potential as a growth promoter and is capable of improving feed efficiency. Hence from a human health viewpoint, it appears desirable to increase CLA levels in foods to protect against disease and enhance general health and well-being. The primary sources of CLA are animal fats (including dairy fats) derived from ruminant animals while vegetable fats and oils contain significantly lower levels. This project was aimed at enriching the CLA content of dairy foods through animal dietary manipulation, and milk fat fractionation.
    • 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 Studies on Dried Functional Food Ingredients Containing omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty-Acids.

      Kelly, Philip; Keogh, M.K.; Kelly, J.; O'Kennedy, Brendan; Murray, C.A. (Teagasc, 2000-10-01)
      The nutritional benefits of fish oils are generally attributed to their content of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Diets rich in these fatty acids are known to reduce the risk of coronary thrombosis, and are recommended to those who are susceptible to atherosclerosis. In addition, some of these long chain PUFAs play an important role in early infant nutrition, in the development of vital human organs such as the neural tube. However, practical difficulties arise in achieving an adequate daily intake of fish oils to obtain these physiological benefits. Per capita fish consumption is low in many countries, especially of oily fish with high levels of omega-3 PUFAs. Fish oil, while available as a dietary supplement, is not universally appealing in that form. Attempts to incorporate fish oil into food formulations have had limited success mainly because of fishy flavours coming through in the consumer products. Fish oil is particularly susceptible to oxidation, which results in fishy, painty and metallic flavours. Hence the main aim of this study was the development of a dried ingredient in which the formulation and related processing conditions were optimised to protect the fish oil from oxidation. Protection of any sensitive oil may be achieved by means of microencapsulation, whereby oil is dispersed as very fine droplets in emulsions. During subsequent spray drying the droplets are effectively sealed inside a protective coating of protein surrounded by carbohydrate. The objective was, therefore, to evaluate microencapsulation as a means of extending the shelf-life of fish oil in powder form thus increasing its versatility as a nutritional ingredient in food formulations.
    • On farm welfare assessment of beef cattle using an environmentally-based welfare index and investigation of the human-animal relationship.

      Earley, Bernadette; Mazurek, Mickael; Murray, Margaret; Prendiville, Daniel J. (Teagasc, 2009-01-01)
      Study 1. Animal welfare index (AWI): an on-farm survey of beef suckler farms in Ireland Summary The objectives were to (i) examine the welfare status of Irish beef suckler herds using an animal welfare index (AWI) adapted from a previously validated welfare assessment method (TGI); (ii) determine the influence of the stockpersons’ status (full: FT or part-time: PT), their interest in farming and herd size on the AWI; and (iii) compare the AWI with the TGI. Beef suckler farms (196 throughout 13 counties) were assessed once with housed cattle and once with cattle at grass using the AWI. Twenty-three of the 196 farms were revisited a year after using the AWI and the TGI. Thirty-three indicators were collected in five categories: locomotion (5 indicators); social interactions (7), flooring (5), environment (7) and stockpersonship (9). Three indicators relating to the size of the farm were also collected. The mean AWI was 65% and ranged from 54% to 83%. The grass period represented 16.5% of mean 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 FT and PT farmers. PT farmers had greater (P = 0.01) “social interactions”: calving (P = 0.03) and weaning (P < 0.001) scores. FT farmers had cleaner animals (P = 0.03) and less lameness (P = 0.01). The number of animals 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. Farms could be categorized into three classes, the most discriminating factors for the classes were the interest of the farmer (higher scores when the farmer was more interested in farming) and the number of animals (higher scores when the herds were smaller). Study 2. Investigation and specificity of behavioural fear responses of heifers to different fear-eliciting situations involving humans. Summary This study investigated the specificity of fear responses in housed beef heifers’ over time using four behavioural tests; flight, docility, fear and chute tests. The flight, (time to join peers and avoidance distance), docility (isolation and handling) and fear (4 phases; responses of isolated heifers in (i), the absence (ii), the presence, of food and responses to a stationary human (iii) without and (iv) with visual contact of their peers) tests were carried out over three consecutive days, in that order, commencing on day 30 and again on day 80 post-housing. The chute test (movement through a race and agitation of heifers during blood sampling) was performed on day 84 post-housing. Scores (higher scores meant less fearful animals) were assigned to the fear responses. Heifers had the lowest (P < 0.05) scores during phases (i) and (iii) of the fear test and the highest (P< 0.05) during phase (iv). The most docile heifers during the docility test were the most agitated during the chute test (P < 0.001). The fear scores were sTable over time for the docility test but decreased for the fear test. The fear scores when restrained (chute test) were not correlated with other scores except for the agitation. A PCA showed that two components (avoidance of stimulus and general agitation explained 49% of the total variation. In conclusion, this study showed that fear responses of heifers can vary over time and that fear is not unitary but multidimensional. Consequently, fear responses are condition specific and tests assessing fear should consider their specificity.
    • On-line Sensor Control for Milk Powder and Cheese Manufacture.

      O'Callaghan, Donal; Schulz, Daniela; O'Donnell, Colm P.; Duffy, Arthur; Hade, John; Howard, Vincent (Teagasc, 2001-08-01)
      This project investigated the use of on-line sensors of rheological characteristics which can be measured during the manufacture of milk powder and cheese. The objective is to use on-line measurements to fine tune each process, so as to compensate for the variability of milk.