• Teagasc Directory of Silage Additives, 2005

      Teagasc (Teagasc, 2005-01-01)
      Products in the 2005 directory are divided into six groups; (1) Acid based; (2) sugar based; (3) enzymes; (4) enzyme/salt mixtures; (5) salts and (6) inoculants. The details on composition and application rates were supplied to Teagasc by the manufacturers/distributors and were not independently verified by Teagasc. With such a large number of products available, farmers are strongly advised to consult their Teagasc adviser before deciding on a product.
    • Technologies for detecting PSE in pork

      Mullen, Anne Maria; McDonagh, Ciara; Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 2003-02)
      The ability of a single, on-line measurement to predict the quality status of an entire muscle or even of a whole carcass was investigated. Variation between pork muscles for on-line measurements of pH, conductivity and colour was evaluated. Intermuscular variation was detected at 24h p ostmortem with higher pH and conductivity values in the topside (M. s emimembranosus) than the striploin (M . longissimus thoracis et lumborum). Correlations showed that a relationship exists between the muscles (r = 0.46-0.88, p<0.05) at 45min and 3h p ostmortem. The location within the topside or the striploin at which the measurements were taken did not influence the result. Shackling did not introduce a significant variation between sides for pH, conductivity and colour values up to 24h p ostmortem, showing measurements could be taken on either side of the carcass.
    • Technologies for restricting mould growth on baled silage

      O'Kiely, Padraig; Forristal, Dermot; O'Brien, Martin; McEniry, Joseph; Laffin, Christopher (Teagasc, 2007-12-01)
      Silage is made on approximately 86% of Irish farms, and 85% of these make some baled silage. Baled silage is particularly important as the primary silage making, storage and feeding system on many beef and smaller sized farms, but is also employed as a secondary system (often associated with facilitating grazing management during mid-summer) on many dairy and larger sized farms (O’Kiely et al., 2002). Previous surveys on farms indicated that the extent of visible fungal growth on baled silage was sometimes quite large, and could be a cause for concern. Whereas some improvements could come from applying existing knowledge and technologies, the circumstances surrounding the making and storage of baled silage suggested that environmental conditions within the bale differed from those in conventional silos, and that further knowledge was required in order to arrive at a secure set of recommendations for baled silage systems. This report deals with the final in a series (O’Kiely et al., 1999; O’Kiely et al., 2002) of three consecutive research projects investigating numerous aspect of the science and technology of baled silage. The success of each depended on extensive, integrated collaboration between the Teagasc research centres at Grange and Oak Park, and with University College Dublin. As the series progressed the multidisciplinary team needed to underpin the programme expanded, and this greatly improved the amount and detail of the research undertaken. The major objective of the project recorded in this report was to develop technologies to improve the “hygienic value” of baled silage. Specifically, the stated aims were to: 1. Characterise the mycobiota on baled silage in Ireland 2. Enhance our understanding of the fermentation kinetics (and the unique combination of factors regulating them) peculiar to baled silage 3. Develop the capability to elucidate the mechanisms of gas entry to and exit from wrapped bales 4. Develop improved plastic and sealing methodologies 5. Identify strategies to successfully produce baled silage with a reduced content of mould and other undesirable micro-organisms.
    • Technology transfer of research results (The 2xtra project)

      McDonagh, Ciara; Byrne, Briege; Troy, Declan J.; Mullen, Anne Maria; Downey, Gerard; European Commission; European Union (Teagasc, 2008-02)
      The 2XTRA project (Technology Transfer Research Results Atlantic Area) was carried out with the aim of promoting economic activity based on research results and technologies developed within universities, research and technology institutes and companies in the European Atlantic Area. This collaborative work was carried out by a strong partnership of 13 entities across this region and included universities, research and technology institutes, private consultants and TBC (technology-based company) incubators. The specific goals of the project were: ● The exchange of information and experiences on technology transfer (TT) with a view to assisting project partners directly and feeding into their regional innovation systems. ● The promotion of new technology-based companies by drawing on collective experiences and developing methodologies relating to - identification and evaluation of business ideas - production of business plans, and - support of early stage companies internationalising. ● The creation of an Atlantic Area Network to support and promote technology-based companies (TBCs) and the technology transfer process. These objectives were achieved through defined activities carried out in three separate stages of this project.
    • A test bacterial decontamination system for meat products

      Ward, Oonagh C.; Logue, Catherine M.; Sheridan, James J.; European Union; FAIR CT 1027 (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      A pilot scale apparatus was designed to allow meat samples to be treated with steam at sub-atmospheric pressures and correspondingly reduced temperatures. Experiments were carried out to determine the effectiveness of sub-atmospheric steam decontamination in eliminating bacteria on the surface of fresh beef. This type of treatment can have special advantages in that steam can be produced at temperatures well below 100ºC. This means that the heat advantages of steam as a decontaminating agent can potentially be obtained at lower temperatures.
    • Texture of fruit and vegetable components of ready meals

      Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      Vegetable and fruit purées are important parts of prepared ready-meals. Further expansion of this food sector will depend among other things on improved and consistent product quality. Innovative organoleptic properties in ready-meal components will assist in product diversification and the growth of market share.
    • Thirty years of phosphorus fertilizer on Irish Pastures.

      Culleton, Noel; Liebhardt, W.C.; Murphy, W.E.; Cullen, J.; Cuddihy, A. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      Thirty years of research involving phosphorus (P) fertiliser rates (0, 15 and 30 kg/ha/yr) on pastures has been completed. Beef performance on pasture at relatively low and high stocking rates was determined by weighing beef animals (mean wt = 260kg) at the beginning and end of each grazing season for 18 years. Soil samples were taken at various times and at various depths. Live weight gain (LWG) was greatest at the high stocking rate (HSR) compared to the low stocking rate (LSR). LWG maximised at 15 kg P/ha. Maximum beef production took place with a soil test of 6 mg P/l using the Morgan’s procedure. Most of the soil P and fertiliser P, as measured by both the Morgan’s and Total P procedures, were in the top 10cm. However, a significant portion moved below that to the 10-20 cm layer, as determined by both Total and Morgan’s P in both P treatments. Soil P and fertiliser P as determined by the Morgan’s procedure moved into the 20-40 cm layer but no lower. Work done on the 30 kg/ha P treatment and on another site at Johnstown Castle showed that significant amounts of P moved off the plot with water in overland flow and the loss was related to the soil test (Morgan’s) for P. The amount of P lost per unit of Morgan’s was calculated to be 175g with a Morgan’s soil test of 4 mg P/l and 281g with a soil test of 17 mg P/l. A mass balance procedure was attempted for the 30 years’ work to determine how much P was exported in beef, lost in overland flow or retained in the soil. This showed that fertilising beyond 15 kg/ha gave no increase in beef production and that the extra P was found in the soil, or lost in overland flow. When 15kg P/ha was applied annually for 30 years it was estimated that 20% and 4% of P applied was removed in beef or lost in overland flow, respectively. It was calculated that 76% of the P applied stayed in the soil.
    • Tracking of Salmonella through the Pork Slaughter Process

      Prendergast, Deirdre M.; Duggan, Sharon J.; Duffy, Geraldine; Downey, Gerard; Safefood; National Development Plan 2007-2013 (Teagasc, 01/10/2009)
      To help address the problem of salmonellosis in the Republic of Ireland (RoI), a national Salmonella control programme was introduced in 1997 with a view to reducing the prevalence of Salmonella in pigs on the farm and on pig carcasses. The primary objective of this present study was to determine the correlation between the Salmonella serological and bacteriological status of pigs presented for slaughter and the Salmonella status of pork cuts following slaughter, dressing and chilling. Two additional studies investigated the prevalence and numbers of Salmonella spp. in the boning halls of four commercial pork abattoirs and at retail level in butcher shops and supermarkets in the RoI. The results indicated that categorisation of pig herds on the basis of a historical serological test for Salmonella was not a good predictor of the bacteriological Salmonella status of individual pigs at time of slaughter. However, it is acknowledged that serological testing does help in giving a rough estimate of the overall Salmonella status of a pig herd. There was a linear correlation between prevalence of Salmonella in caecal contents and on pork cuts at factory level; therefore, if the number of herds presented for slaughter with high levels of Salmonella (category 3) was reduced, there would be less potential for contamination of the lairage, equipment etc. and so less likelihood of Salmonella contamination on pork. The impact of crosscontamination during transport, lairage, processing and distribution cannot be ignored and measures to diminish this would significantly reduce the dissemination of Salmonella in the chain and the consequent risk posed. A key finding was the considerable variation in the incidence of Salmonella on different sampling days and in different slaughter plants.
    • The ultra-rapid chilling of lamb carcasses

      McGeehin, Brian; Sheridan, James J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc, 1999-01)
      The practice in Irish commercial abattoirs is to chill lamb carcasses for a period of approximately 16 hours at 2 - 4°C, at which stage the core temperature of the carcass has reached 7°C. Chilling in this manner is considered necessary because it is generally held that faster chilling leads to toughening of the meat. The objective of this work was to develop a continuous ultra-rapid chilling system for lambs which would reduce carcass chilling time without adversely affecting the quality of the meat.
    • Up-grading of low value meats and by-products for use in consumer foods.

      Kenny, Tony; Desmond, Eoin; Ward, Patrick (Teagasc, 1999-02-01)
      The investigation was concerned with the up-grading of: (i) connective tissue material in the form of beef membrane, pig rind and turkey skin; (ii) muscle material from low-value cuts and from offals such as beef heart; (iii) heart muscle, by extrusion processing; (i) An emulsified material from beef membrane and beef replaced up to 5% of lean meat in corn beef and up to 10% in beefburgers without impairing cooked yield and eating quality. A collagen emulsion paste (CEP) from pig rind replaced up to 5% of lean meat in ham prepared from diced meat, and between 2 and 5% in ham prepared from whole muscles without reduction in cooked yield, texture, appearance and eating quality. Turkey skin was minced, chopped and incorporated at 10, 15 and 20% levels in a mix with turkey leg meat, which was used to make battered and breaded re-formed steaklets. Steaks containing up to 20% of emulsified skin were similar to control samples in flavour, juiciness and overall acceptability. An antioxidant may be required to prevent rancidity during frozen storage. (ii) Yields of surimi-like material, prepared by water-extraction, sieving and centrifuging, were 16% from lean of topside of beef (used as control for comparison), 39% from beef heart, 17% from pork mechanically recovered meat, 11% from beef weasand and less than 5% from beef cheek meat. The beef heart surimi was studied for its gelation properties and for its performance as an ingredient replacing lean meat in frankfurters and in beefburgers at levels between 3 and 15%. In frankfurters the addition of the surimi reduced cook loss and increased tenderness. For overall eating quality the frankfurters with 7 or 10% of surimi were preferable, and those with 15% equal, to those with none. In beefburgers cook loss was decreased from 32 to 25% by the addition of 15% surimi. Other results were similar to those for frankfurters, showing that the surimi could be added at 10 to 15% level without impairing texture or flavour. (iii) Cold extrusion processing of beef heart muscle with the aim of increasing its functionality showed that gelation properties of the material were not improved by extrusion compared to bowl chopping; moreover, the extruded product had a strong odour and dark colour.
    • Upgrading the cold chain for consumer food products

      Gormley, Ronan T.; Brennan, Martine H.; Butler, Francis (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      The prepared consumer foods sector in Ireland is undergoing sustained dynamic growth. Products that are distributed chilled or frozen require a cold chain and there is potential to increase product quality by optimising the cold chain. This potential prompted the current study.
    • The use of air induction nozzles for herbicide application to sugar beet.

      Rice, B.; Mitchell, B.J.; Leonard, R. (Teagasc, 2002-08-01)
      Trials were carried out over a three-year period in Oak Park to compare airinduction with conventional nozzles for weed control in sugar beet. Two makes of low-drift nozzle (Bubble Jet and DriftBETA) were compared with conventional fans. All nozzles were used at a pressure of 3 bar. Two sizes (015 and 03) of each type of nozzle were used, to allow volumes of 110 and 220 litres per hectare to be applied. These nozzles were used to apply two-spray programmes to sugar-beet crops. In four of the weed control trials, tank mixes of products with some residual action (Progress, Goltix, Venzar and Debut) were used. In the other two trials, a contact-only spray (Betanal E) was used. The aim was to see how the nozzles behaved with contact-only sprays as well as those with more complex modes of action. Spray drift was also measured with the size 03 nozzles. Spray drift reductions from 37% to 64% were measured when the air-induction nozzles were compared with conventional fans. In general, the tank mix programme gave better weed control than the contact-only treatments. Within programmes, differences between the application methods were significant in two trials. In both of these, the conventional nozzles gave the best results. Looking at the mean results of the tank-mix trials, two trends were suggested: higher water volumes gave slightly better weed control, and the effect of the coarser sprays was slight. With the contact-only sprays, the decline in performance with the coarser sprays was more emphatic, and the lower volumes appeared to give slightly better control. It is concluded that in calm conditions conventional fan or cone nozzles should continue to be used, but that air-induction nozzles are a valuable fall-back when it is necessary to spray in a moderate breeze. In these situations, and with the normal tank-mix programmes, small nozzle sizes applying very low volumes should be avoided. Makes of air-induction nozzle which give very coarse spray should also be avoided.
    • Use of Bacteriocins to Improve Cheese Quality and Safety

      Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Ryan, Maire; Cunniffe, Alan; McAuliffe, Olivia; Murray, Deirdre; O'Keefe, Triona; Rea, Mary (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The objectives of this project were to generate, characterise and exploit a range of novel bacteriocin producing starter cultures to improve both the safety and the quality of fermented dairy foods. The main conclusions were as follows: Lacticin 3147 is a broad spectrum bacteriocin which inhibits a wide range of Gram-positive bacteria including lactobacilli, clostridia and Listeria. The bacteriocin has been purified by chromatographic procedures and has been shown to be composed of two peptides, both of which are required for biological activity. The mechanism of action of lacticin 3147 has been elucidated. The entire plasmid encoding lacticin 3147 has been sequenced and the bacteriocin in distinct from any previously characterised lactococcal bacteriocin. The Food Grade introduction of the bacteriocin genes into cheese starters was carried out. Lacticin 3147 producing starters have been used to control the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes on the surface of mould ripened cheese. Lacticin 3147 producing starters have been used to control the non-starter lactic acid bacteria complement in Cheddar cheese during the ripening process. A novel starter system using a bacteriocin (lactococcin)- producing adjunct has been designed which gives increased cell lysis during Cheddar cheese manufacture while ensuring that efficient acid production is not compromised. In summary these studies have found that naturally occurring antimicrobials such as bacteriocins have a wide range of applications in the food industry for improving both the quality and safety of fermented dairy products.
    • The use of Cold Setting Whey Proteins to enhance the Gelation Properties of Foods.

      Keogh, Kieran; O'Kennedy, Brendan; Twomey, Myra (Teagasc, 1999-06-01)
      The main objective of this project was to produce dried, denatured, whey protein-based powders, which on reconstitution in food formulations show an increased ability to bind water in the presence of added salts, especially in the ambient temperature range. To achieve this, a number of secondary objectives were set to observe the behaviour of the whey protein system. These included the effects of salt on increases in viscosity during the heating process, the requirement for pH adjustment during processing and the ability of the pre-treated whey protein to interact with fat. The main conclusions were as follows: * It was shown that, compared to a commercial 75% whey protein concentrate, a preheated whey protein ingredient (cold-setting whey protein) improved the consistency of surimi and a cold-set dessert system. * For cold-setting applications, the whey proteins need to withstand heating without gel formation. For example, as the protein concentration was increased, the salt concentration had to be decreased and pH increased to prevent the initiation of gelling during processing. When the salt concentration was increased, a lower heat treatment was needed to prevent viscosity increase. However, lower heat treatment resulted in a lower degree of protein unfolding and weaker cold-set gels. This example implies that only certain whey sources are suitable starting materials for cold-set applications. * Model oil-in-water emulsions were studied using whey proteins pre-treated at different homogenisation and heating conditions to evaluate the potential of cold-setting whey proteins in yoghurt, mayonnaise and sauces. It was found that with these pretreatments, emulsion viscosity increases were observed at very low whey protein concentration (< 1%), when salt was added after emulsion formation, indicating that cold-set whey proteins are much more effective gelling agents than normal whey protein ingredients. For this reason, they have potential in acidified dairy products such as yoghurt. * Pre-heated whey protein dispersions are also capable of binding and stabilising calcium phosphate. This property can be exploited in the stabilisation of calcium-fortified milkbased beverages. * The commercial production of cold-setting whey protein ingredients will depend on the ability to retain whey protein solubility during processing. A number of mechanisms exist to achieve this but, in all cases, very exact control of the process is required. * Because low salt levels prevent the aggregation and gelling of denatured whey proteins, whey protein isolate is an ideal starting material for the production of these ingredients, but due to the high cost, de-mineralised whey was chosen instead as the starting material. Careful consideration has also to be given to the processing equipment and the economics involved. * The development of whey protein ingredients especially for cold-set end uses is a product specific exercise. General guidelines were developed in the current work, but further work with industry partners will be necessary before commercial success is achieved.
    • The use of tensiometers to control the irrigation of nursery stock in containers.

      Keogh, E.; Maher, M.J.; Hunter, A.; Campion, Jerry (Teagasc, 2000-07-01)
      The use of digital tensiometers to control the irrigation of nursery stock in containers was studied over a three year period. Over this time the tensiometers performed satisfactorily and successfully automated the irrigation of the plants. The results indicate the feasibility of using them to control nursery stock irrigation under Irish conditions. An irrigation tension of 50 hPa to trigger an irrigation period resulted in larger plants than those grown under drier regimes with irrigation tensions of 100 and 200 hPa. Measurements of stomatal resistance indicated that the plants in the drier regimes were growing under greater moisture stress. The drier regimes reduced the number of irrigations and also the overall usage of water. They reduced plant size but did not impair plant appearance. It may be possible to use this approach in the future to control plant growth. There was no difference in performance between plants gown with ebb and flood irrigation and those irrigated via overhead spraylines. The ebb and flood system gave a considerable reduction in water use.
    • Using ultrasound to measure beef tenderness and fat content

      Allen, Paul; Dwyer, Catherine; Mullen, Anne Maria; Buckin, Vitaly; Smyth, Cormac; Morrissey, Siobhan (Teagasc, 2001-04)
      A new acoustical technique was developed for the quantitative analysis of the texture and composition of meat and meat products. This new approach exploits the fact that the acoustical velocity and attenuation of waves propagated through meat are affected by its mechanical properties, thus allowing characterisation in terms of its composition and eating quality. The method is based on a new high-resolution ultrasonic resonator. This technique is rapid and uses small samples. Procedures for the acoustical analysis of meat were developed and the results were correlated with taste panel and shear force measurements of meat tenderness.
    • Validation and Improvement of the Beef Production Sub-index in Ireland for Beef Cattle

      Drennan, Michael J; McGee, Michael; Clarke, Anne Marie; Kenny, David A.; Evans, R. D.; Berry, Donagh (Teagasc, 2008-01-01)
      The objectives of the following study were to: a. Quantify the effect of sire genetic merit for BCI on: 1. feed intake, growth and carcass traits of progeny managed under bull or steer beef production systems. 2. live animal scores, carcass composition and plasma hormone and metabolite concentrations in their progeny. b. Compare the progeny of : 1. Late-maturing beef with dairy breeds and 2. Charolais (CH), Limousin (LM), Simmental (SM) and Belgian Blue (BB) sires bred to beef suckler dams, for feed intake, blood hormones and
    • Variation in the quality of meat from Irish steers at the time of slaughter.

      Moloney, Aidan P; Mullen, Anne Maria; Maher, S.C.; Buckley, D.J.; Kerry, Joseph P. (Teagasc, 01/01/2004)
      There is no information on the variation in quality, in particular tenderness, that exists in Irish Beef nor is there information on the variation that would remain if optimum practices were imposed at all stages of the beef production chain. Evaluation of the success of measures to improve beef consistency requires information on existing variation and the minimum variation achievable.The objectives of this project were (i) to establish the variation that exists in the quality of meat from Irish cattle, (ii) to quantify the minimum variation in meat quality that can be achieved in a practical beef production system, (iii) to determine the effects and mechanisms of additional sources of variation. The conclusions from this project are: • The M. longissimus dorsi (loin) was found to be more variable than the M. semimembranosus (topside) for most quality attributes examined (tenderness, sarcomere length and pH). The scale of variation within the loin was similar to that reported by the other research groups within the EU and US. Heifers were more variable than steers for most attributes, while there was no consistent classification effect on the variability of meat quality attributes. • Tenderness was equally variable in meat from genetically similar steers, managed similarly, compared to commercial steers randomly selected from a factory lairage but matched for weight and grade.This was likely a result of both groups being crossbred beef cattle of similar age, fat score, carcass weight and managed identically post-mortem. However, variation in tenderness of both groups was less than that observed in a survey of commercial throughput (experiment 1). This decrease is attributed to better pre-and-post-slaughter handling practices. • The data suggest that selection of sires (within a breed) with better than average conformation has no deleterious effect on the eating quality of beef of their progeny.A more comprehensive comparison of sires within a breed and between breeds is required to confirm the generality of this conclusion. • In a comparison of genotypes, gender and slaughter weights, there was no evidence that variation around the mean value for tenderness differed between breeds or liveweights after 14 days ageing. Bulls were more variable than steers for some quality traits but the variation in tenderness was similar for bulls and steers after 14 days ageing. • While optimising the management of animals during the pre and post-slaughter period reduced variation in tenderness, some residual variation remained. A large percentage of the residual variation in tenderness (Warner Bratzler shear force) after 2 and 7 days post-mortem was explained by proteolysis (breakdown of myofibrillar proteins).Variation in tenderness (Warner Bratzler shear force) after 2 days post-mortem was largely explained by phosphates (energy) and proteolysis, while sensory tenderness was largely explained by phosphates and glycolytic potential. • Further work is required to reduce residual variation in Irish beef and to determine the causes of this variation.
    • Very fast chilling in beef

      Troy, Declan J.; Joseph, Robin; European Union; AIR-CT94-1881 (Teagasc, 2001-07)
      Very fast chilling (VFC) of beef reduces the temperature to -1ºC after 5 hours post mortem throughout its mass. The process has many potential benefits (Joseph,1996) including the production of tender meat and greater process efficiency in the meat plant.
    • Viability of in vitro produced cattle embryos.

      Morris, Dermot G.; Diskin, Michael G.; Sreenan, J.M. (Teagasc, 2001-06-01)
      Embryo transfer is being increasingly used in the cattle industry. As well as direct embryo transfers, many embryo-based biotechnologies have the potential to improve cattle production efficiency through enhanced breeding strategies, by facilitating the introduction of desirable traits such as disease resistance and through the production of desirable medical or pharmaceutical products in the milk. These biotechnologies are, however, dependent on a supply of viable in vitro produced (IVP) embryos. While the in vitro fertilization rate is high (80%) in cattle, only about 30 transferable embryos, or blastocysts, are produced from every 100 fertilized oocytes. A major factor affecting the viability of IVP embryos is their failure, in a high proportion of cases, to undergo normal development to the blastocyst stage in the manner of in vivo embryos. The major problem relates to a failure of the cells of IVP embryos to form a compact cell mass when they are 5 - 6 days old. This ultimately leads to developmental problems and compromised viability. Cell compaction is recognized as a critical event in early embryo development and has been associated with marked changes in protein synthesis and phosphorylation in the embryos of some species. This report is the first, to our knowledge, to describe the rate and pattern of protein synthesis and phosphorylation before, during and after compaction in both in vivo and in IVP cattle embryos. The main results are summarised below.