Now showing items 1-20 of 2266

    • Easy phylotyping of Escherichia coli via the EzClermont web app and command-line tool

      Waters, Nicholas R.; Abram, Florence; Brennan, Fiona; Holmes, Ashleigh; Pritchard, Leighton; The James Hutton Institute; National University of Ireland, Galway (Microbiology Society, 2020-09-01)
      The Clermont PCR method for phylotyping Escherichia coli remains a useful classification scheme even though genome sequencing is now routine, and higher-resolution sequence typing schemes are now available. Relating present-day whole-genome E. coli classifications to legacy phylotyping is essential for harmonizing the historical literature and understanding of this important organism. Therefore, we present EzClermont – a novel in silico Clermont PCR phylotyping tool to enable ready application of this phylotyping scheme to whole-genome assemblies. We evaluate this tool against phylogenomic classifications, and an alternative software implementation of Clermont typing. EzClermont is available as a web app at, and as a command-line tool at
    • Fabrication of Ligusticum chuanxiong polylactic acid microspheres: A promising way to enhance the hepatoprotective effect on bioactive ingredients

      Ge, Huifang; Lin, Peixuan; Luo, Taiduan; Yan, Zhiming; Xiao, Jianbo; Miao, Song; Chen, Jichen; National Natural Science Foundation of China; Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province; No. 31201350; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-07)
      Ligusticum chuanxiong extract-polylactic acid sustained-release microspheres (LCE-PLA) are fabricated in this study for enhancing both duration and hepatoprotective efficacy of the main bioactive ingredients. LCE-PLA in vitro release, cytotoxicity and in vivo hepatoprotective effect were discussed to evaluate its efficiency and functionality. Results demonstrated that the optimal drug-loading rate and encapsulation efficiency of tetramethylpyrazine (TMP, the main active ingredient) were 8.19%, 83.72%, respectively. The LCE-PLA in vitro release of TMP showed prolong 5-fold and in vitro cytotoxicity declined 25.00% compared with naked LCE. After 6 weeks of in vivo intervention in high fat diet mice, both liver aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels were higher in LCE-PLA group than LCE group. The above results indicated that TMP had a higher bioavailability of hepatoprotection when encapsulation of LCE-PLA was applied. The current study has provided a promising novel way to enhance the efficacy of short half-life ingredients.
    • Establishing nationally representative benchmarks of farm-gate nitrogen and phosphorus balances and use efficiencies on Irish farms to encourage improvements

      Thomas, I.A.; Buckley, C.; Kelly, E.; Dillon, E.; Lynch, J.; Moran, B.; Hennessy, T.; Murphy, P.N.C.; Environmental Protection Agency; 2015-SE-DS-7 (Elsevier BV, 2020-06)
      Agriculture faces considerable challenges of achieving more sustainable production that minimises nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses and meets international obligations for water quality and greenhouse gas emissions. This must involve reducing nutrient balance (NB) surpluses and increasing nutrient use efficiencies (NUEs), which could also improve farm profitability (a win-win). To set targets and motivate improvements in Ireland, nationally representative benchmarks were established for different farm categories (sector, soil group and production intensity). Annual farm-gate NBs (kg ha−1) and NUEs (%) for N and P were calculated for 1446 nationally representative farms from 2008 to 2015 using import and export data collected by the Teagasc National Farm Survey (part of the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network). Benchmarks for each category were established using quantile regression analysis and percentile rankings to identify farms with the lowest NB surplus per production intensity and highest gross margins (€ ha−1). Within all categories, large ranges in NBs and NUEs between benchmark farms and poorer performers show considerable room for nutrient management improvements. Results show that as agriculture intensifies, nutrient surpluses, use efficiencies and gross margins increase, but benchmark farms minimise surpluses to relatively low levels (i.e. are more sustainable). This is due to, per ha, lower fertiliser and feed imports, greater exports of agricultural products, and for dairy, sheep and suckler cattle, relatively high stocking rates. For the ambitious scenario of all non-benchmark farms reaching the optimal benchmark zone, moderate reductions in farm nutrient surpluses were found with great improvements in profitability, leading to a 31% and 9% decrease in N and P surplus nationally, predominantly from dairy and non-suckler cattle. The study also identifies excessive surpluses for each level of production intensity, which could be used by policy in setting upper limits to improve sustainability.
    • Application of the TruCulture® whole blood stimulation system for immune response profiling in cattle

      O’Brien, Megan B.; McLoughlin, Rachel M.; Meade, Kieran G.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 0005GE (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
      Capturing the phenotypic variation in immune responses holds enormous promise for the development of targeted treatments for disease as well as tailored vaccination schedules. However, accurate detection of true biological variation can be obscured by the lack of standardised immune assays. The TruCulture® whole blood stimulation system has now been extensively used to detect basal and induced immune responses to a range of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) in human peripheral blood. This study demonstrates the optimisation of this commercially available assay for systemic immune phenotyping in cattle. The early immune response in Holstein-Friesian bull calves (n = 10) was assessed by haematology, flow cytometry and cytokine expression profiling after 24 h ex-vivo PAMP (LPS, poly (I:C) and zymosan) stimulation in TruCulture® tubes. A comparative analysis was also performed with a traditional whole blood stimulation assay and cell viability using both systems was also evaluated. Results: Supernatant collected from TruCulture® tubes showed a significant increase in IL-1β and IL-8 expression compared to null stimulated tubes in response to both LPS and zymosan. In contrast, a detectable immune response was not apparent at the standard concentration of poly (I:C). Conventional whole blood cultures yielded similar response profiles, although the magnitude of the response was higher to both LPS and zymosan, which may be attributed to prokaryotic strain-specificity or batch of the stimulant used. Despite being a closed system, HIF1A expression – used as a measure of hypoxia was not increased, suggesting the TruCulture® assay did not negatively affect cell viability. This represents the first reported use of this novel standardised assay in cattle, and indicates that the concentration of poly (I:C) immunogenic in humans is insufficient to induce cytokine responses in cattle. We conclude that the low blood volume and minimally invasive TruCulture® assay system offers a practical and informative technique to assess basal and induced systemic immune responses in cattle.
    • Influence of sodium hexametaphosphate addition on the functional properties of milk protein concentrate solutions containing transglutaminase cross-linked proteins

      Power, Orla M.; Fenelon, Mark; O'Mahony, James A.; McCarthy, Noel; Teagasc Wash Fellowship Programme (Elsevier BV, 2020-05)
      The functional properties of milk protein concentrate (MPC) powders are often hindered by their poor solubility. Calcium chelating salts have been shown to improve powder solubility, but generally their action contributes to higher viscosity due to disintegration of casein micelles and higher levels of serum-phase calcium. To help mitigate increases in viscosity associated with calcium chelation, transglutaminase (TGase), an enzyme that covalently crosslinks protein, was employed in an effort to stabilise the casein micelle structure. Sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP) was added to control (C-MPC) and TGase crosslinked MPC (TG-MPC) dispersions at concentrations of 5, 12.5 and 25 mm prior to analysis. TG-MPC dispersions had lower viscosity than C-MPC dispersions across all SHMP concentrations studied. Crosslinking limited micelle dissociation on SHMP addition and led to greater retention of the white colour of the protein dispersions, while the turbidity of C-MPC dispersions decreased with increasing SHMP addition.
    • Enrichment use in finishing pigs and its relationship with damaging behaviours: Comparing three wood species and a rubber floor toy

      Chou, Jen-Yun; D’Eath, Rick B.; Sandercock, Dale A.; O’Driscoll, Keelin; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Scottish Government; 14/S/871 (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
      Environmental enrichment in pig housing is a legal requirement under current EU legislation, but some recommended loose materials may cause obstructions in fully-slatted systems. Wood is an organic material that could be compatible with slatted systems. This study investigated enrichment use in finishing pigs (three wood species and a rubber floor toy) and explored the relationship between use and damaging behaviours, and physiological and physical measures of stress and injury. Individual variation in enrichment use within pen was also investigated. Pigs (12 weeks old; week 0) were housed in 40 pens of seven pigs (n = 280). One of four different enrichment items (one spruce, larch, or beech wooden post, or rubber floor toy) was randomly assigned to each pen (10 pens/treatment). The behaviour of each individually marked pig was observed continuously from video recordings taken on six different occasions (twice during week 2, 4 and 7; 1 h per occasion). Individual tail/ear lesion and tear staining scores were recorded every 2 weeks. Saliva samples for cortisol analysis were obtained from three focal pigs per pen every 2 weeks. These focal pigs were selected based on the latency to approach the experimenter on the first sampling day and classified as ‘Approach’, ‘Neutral’ or ‘Avoid’. Carcasses were inspected for tail lesions and potential oral damage. Time spent using enrichment was higher in pigs with spruce and rubber toy than with larch and beech (P < 0.001). Spruce was used up the most quickly and was the softest of the wood species (P < 0.001). High use of spruce was not due to consistent high use by certain pigs. No treatment effect on any other behaviour was recorded, but enrichment use was positively correlated with damaging behaviours at pen level (P < 0.001). Spruce pigs had slightly more severe tail lesion scores than Beech (P < 0.05). Salivary cortisol did not differ between treatments but was higher in ‘Avoid’ than ‘Approach’ pigs (P = 0.04). No clear oral damage that could be attributed to using wood was found. By investigating enrichment use at both pen and individual level, a more complete picture was obtained of how pigs used the enrichment. Wood appears to be a safe material to use as environmental enrichment for pigs and a softer wood species was preferred by pigs with equal preference for the rubber floor toy.
    • Risky (farm) business: Perceptions of economic risk in farm succession and inheritance

      Leonard, Brian; Farrell, Maura; Mahon, Marie; Kinsella, Anne; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Royal Dublin Society; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
      Highlights • Generational renewal is high on the political agenda for agriculture, with young farmers linked to positive outcomes. • There are limited policy incentives for older farmers to consider engaging in the farm succession and inheritance process. • Farmers perceive risks and uncertainties regarding the transfer process, and thus avoid handing over to their successors. • Taxation, retirement income, long term care cost, and marital breakdown are motivations for farmers to retain ownership. • Financial incentives related to generational renewal must aim to alleviate the level of risk perceived by farmers.
    • Review of near-infrared spectroscopy as a process analytical technology for real-time product monitoring in dairy processing

      Pu, Yuan-Yuan; O'Donnell, Colm; Tobin, John T.; O'Shea, Norah; Dairy Processing Technology Centre; Enterprise Ireland; TC/2014/0016 (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
      Real-time process/product monitoring can be achieved using suitable process analytical technologies (PAT) to improve process efficiencies and product quality. In the dairy industry, near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has been utilised as a laboratory analytical method (off-line) for compositional analysis of dairy products since the 1970s. Recent advances in NIR technology and instrumentation have widened its applications from a bench-top analytical instrument to a promising PAT tool for on-line and in-line implementation. This review focuses on the use of NIR technology for real-time monitoring of dairy products, by briefly outlining the measurement principle, NIR instrument configurations, in-line sampling methods, calibration models development, some practical considerations for process installation, and current state of the art in on-line and in-line NIR applications (2012 to date) for continuous process monitoring in the production of dairy products. The challenges and additional resources required to improve production efficiencies using NIR spectroscopy are also discussed.
    • Fabrication and characterization of highly re-dispersible dry emulsions

      Lu, Wei; Maidannyk, Valentyn; Kelly, Alan L.; Miao, Song; Shanghai Pujiang Program; Shanghai Jiao Tong University; 19PJ1406500; 19X100040028 (Elsevier BV, 2020-05)
      Highly re-dispersible dry emulsions were obtained through drying konjac glucomannan (KGM) or monoglyceride (MG) structured O/W emulsions. Emulsion powders showed different morphologies, particle size and surface microstructures, depending on the drying method (spray/freeze-drying), and the emulsion compositions. The introduction of a low level of KGM (0.15 wt%) and MG (1 wt%) significantly reduced the level of maltodextrin as wall material. All powdered emulsions showed rapid re-hydration in water. Compared with original emulsions before drying, re-constituted emulsions from spray-dried powders showed slightly increased mean droplet size while that from freeze-dried ones showed slightly decreased mean droplet size. KGM significantly decreased the initial viscosity (p < 0.05) but increased the creaming stability (p < 0.05) of re-constituted emulsions. Measurement of β-carotene content in re-constituted oil droplets fractions indicated that emulsion powders have good re-dispersibility in water (>93% in average). The findings in this study make it possible to obtain emulsion powders and their reconstitutions with desired properties by structuring the original emulsions before drying, and confirmed the possibility of KGM and MG in producing low-cost emulsion powders and the potential of these dry emulsions as novel solid delivery carriers for lipophilic components.
    • Dynamic in situ imaging of semi-hard cheese microstructure under large-strain tensile deformation: Understanding structure-fracture relationships

      Lamichhane, Prabin; Auty, Mark A.E.; Kelly, Alan L.; Sheehan, Diarmuid (JJ); Dairy Research Ireland; Ornua; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; RMIS 6259 (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
      Changes in the microstructure of semi-hard cheeses were observed in situ under tensile deformation by placing a microtensile stage directly under a confocal scanning laser microscope, and recording force/displacement data simultaneously. On tensile deformation, detachment of fat globules and their subsequent release from the cheese matrix were observed, suggesting that they are weakly bonded to or entrapped within the cheese matrix. Moreover, an inherent micro-defect was observed at a curd granule junction within the cheese matrix, which fractured along the curd granule junction under tensile deformation, suggesting that such micro-defects could be a key to the formation of undesirable slits or cracks. Furthermore, the fracture behaviour of semi-hard cheese varied with ripening temperature, coagulant type, and inhibition of residual chymosin activity. Overall, this study demonstrated the potential of dynamic in situ imaging of cheese microstructure for developing a greater understanding of the breakdown behaviour of cheese matrices.
    • Microfiltration of raw milk for production of high-purity milk fat globule membrane material

      Hansen, Steffen F.; Hogan, Sean; Tobin, John; Rasmussen, Jan T.; Larsen, Lotte B.; Wiking, Lars; Arla Foods for Health Centre; Arla Food Ingredients; Innovation Fund Denmark; 5158-00014B (Elsevier BV, 2020-07)
      Commercial ingredients containing milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) material are currently isolated from heavily processed dairy streams. The aim of this study was to achieve a more gentle isolation of MFGM material by means of ceramic dia-microfiltration of raw whole milk to separate fat globules from casein micelles and whey proteins prior to MFGM extraction. A pilot-scale experiment with 1.4 μm pore size (membrane surface area 1.05 m2) resulted in an optimal outcome of low permeation of fat (2.5% permeation) and high permeation of proteins (97% permeation). This yielded an MFGM isolate with 7% w/w polar lipids and 30% w/w proteins, where contamination of non-MFGM proteins was only 25% of total protein content. Furthermore, mild pasteurization (72 °C, 15 s) introduced either before or after microfiltration had no impact on filtration efficiency or MFGM yield and composition. The work describes an industrially relevant production method for a less-processed MFGM material of high purity with potential for further separation and valorisation of protein-rich permeate streams.
    • Bioprocessing of brewers’ spent grain for production of Xylanopectinolytic enzymes by Mucor sp.

      Hassan, Shady S.; Tiwari, Brijesh K; Adams, Gwylim A.; Jaiswal, Amit K.; TU Dublin; Science Foundation Ireland; 16/RC/3889 (Elsevier, 2019-12-26)
      The potential of microwave and ultrasound was evaluated for the pretreatment of brewer's spent grain (BSG). Under optimal conditions of microwave and ultrasound pretreatments, reducing sugar yields per 1 g of pretreated BSG were 64.4 ± 7 mg and 39.9 ± 6 mg, respectively. Subsequently, the pretreated BSG was evaluated as a substrate for production of Xylanopectinolytic enzymes using fungi isolated from spoiled fruits. Out of twenty-nine (29) isolates recovered, Mucor sp. (AB1) isolated from Bramley apple (Malus domestica) produced xylanopectinolytic enzymes with higher specific activity, and was selected for further studies. The highest enzyme activity (137 U/g, and 67 U/g BSG, for pectinase and xylanase, respectively) was achieved in a medium that contained 15 g of BSG, at pH 6, temperature of 30 °C, supplemented with 1% xylan or pectin for inducing the production of xylanase or pectinase, respectively. The partially purified xylanopectinolytic enzymes were optimally active at 60 °C and pH 5.
    • Evolution of the bovine milk fatty acid profile – From colostrum to milk five days post parturition

      O'Callaghan, Tom; O'Donovan, Michael; Murphy, John; Sugrue, Katie; Mannion, David; McCarthy, William P.; Timlin, Mark; Kilcawley, Kieran; Hickey, Rita M.; Tobin, John T. (Elsevier BV, 2020-05)
      Milk was collected from each of 18 cows (presenting an even spread of 1st, 2nd and 3rd lactation): colostrum on the day of calving and subsequent morning milk 1–5 days post parturition. Days post parturition significantly affected the fatty acid profile of colostrum and transition milk samples. The colostrum fatty acid profile was distinctly different from that of mature milk, with significantly higher levels of polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Parity of the cow had a significant effect on the fatty acid profile of colostrum and transition milk samples; conjugated linoleic acid was significantly higher in cows entering their 1st lactation than in those in their 3rd lactation, while multiparous cows produced significantly higher concentrations of C16:0. The changing composition of the fatty acid profile can be classed into three distinct phases: colostrum (D0), transition milk (D1 and D2 post parturition) and mature milk (D3–D5).
    • The effects of sequential heat treatment on microbial reduction and spore inactivation during milk processing

      Li, Fang; Hunt, Karen; Buggy, Aoife K.; Murphy, Kevin; Ho, Quang Tri; O'Callaghan, Tom; Butler, Francis; Jordan, Kieran; Tobin, John; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-05)
      Sequential heating processes are commonly applied to milk by the dairy industry as part of their microbiological control strategy. Often pasteurisation at 72 °C is followed by a sequential high heat treatment step of up to 125 °C; however, such severe heat treatment can lead to reduced protein quality. Nine temperature combinations (80–90 °C) were evaluated to assess microbial reduction and whey protein nitrogen index values during pilot scale milk processing. A total of 110 bacterial isolates were identified to species level by 16S rDNA sequencing, with Bacillus licheniformis identified as the dominant species. While the experimental treatments did not achieve microbial reductions comparable with the control heating process, the results of this study provide a benchmark for milk processors relative to the effects of sequential heat treatments on milk and their impact on the survival of both thermally resistant microbial populations and thermally labile milk components during processing.
    • Mid-infrared spectroscopy as an alternative to laboratory extraction for the determination of lime requirement in tillage soils

      Metzger, Konrad; Zhang, Chaosheng; Ward, Mark; Daly, Karen; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department for Agriculture Food and the Marine; RMIS 6837; 15/ICTAGRI 2 (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
      Lime is a crucial soil conditioner to bring agricultural soils to optimum pH values for nutrient availability. Lime recommendations are typically determined in laboratory extractions, the most common being the “Shoemaker- McLean and Pratt” (SMP) buffer method, that requires carcinogenic reagents soon to be abolished under the EU legislation. As an alternative to wet chemistry, mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy has shown to be a cost-and time effective method at predicting soil properties. The capability and feasibility of diffuse reflectance infrared spectroscopy (DRIFTS) to predict lime requirement (LR) in tillage fields is examined. Samples from 41 cereal tillage fields (n = 655) are used to build a calibration for DRIFTS using partial least squares regression (PLSR). The samples were split into calibration set (31 fields, n=495) and validation set (10 fields, n= 160). After preprocessing with trim, smoothing and standard normal variate, a calibration model using 6 latent variables, provided R2 of 0.89 and root mean square error of cross-validation (RMSECV) of 1.56 t/ha. Prediction of all fields from the validation set resulted in R2 of 0.76 and root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) of 1.68 t/ ha. The predictions of the single fields ranged from R2 values of 0.41 to 0.72, RMSEP of 0.48 to 4.2 t/ha and ratios of performance to inter-quartile distance (RPIQ) of 0.45 to 3.56. It was shown that the signals of soil constituents having an influence on the LR were picked up in the spectra and were identified in the loading weights of the PLSR. While the error is too high to predict the variability of LR within the field, MIR prediction using field averages provided a viable alternative to current laboratory methods for blanket spreading of lime on tillage fields.
    • Can technology help achieve sustainable intensification? Evidence from milk recording on Irish dairy farms

      Balaine, Lorraine; Dillon, Emma J.; Läpple, Doris; Lynch, John; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; University of Oxford; 14/ 889; 205212/Z/16/Z (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
      This article explores the potential of a farm technology to simultaneously improve farm efficiency and provide wider environmental and social benefits. Identifying these ‘win-win-win’ strategies and encouraging their widespread adoption is critical to achieve sustainable intensification. Using a nationally representative sample of 296 Irish dairy farms from 2015, propensity score matching is applied to measure the impact of milk recording on a broad set of farm sustainability indicators. The findings reveal that the technology enhances economic sustainability by increasing dairy gross margin and milk yield per cow. Furthermore, social sustainability is improved through a reduction in milk bulk tank somatic cell count (an indicator of animal health and welfare status). Conversely, milk recording (as it is currently implemented) does not impact farm environmental sustainability, represented by greenhouse gas emission efficiency. While the study shows that milk recording is a ‘win-win’ strategy, ways of improving current levels of utilisation are discussed so that milk recording achieves its ‘win-win-win’ potential in the future.
    • Evaluation of Phage Therapy in the Context of Enterococcus faecalis and Its Associated Diseases

      Bolocan, Andrei S.; Upadrasta, Aditya; de Almeida Bettio, Pedro H.; Clooney, Adam G.; Draper, Lorraine A.; Ross, R. Paul; Hill, Colin; Science Foundation Ireland; European Union; Janssen Biotech, Inc.; et al. (MDPI, 2019-04-20)
      Bacteriophages (phages) or bacterial viruses have been proposed as natural antimicrobial agents to fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria associated with human infections. Enterococcus faecalis is a gut commensal, which is occasionally found in the mouth and vaginal tract, and does not usually cause clinical problems. However, it can spread to other areas of the body and cause life-threatening infections, such as septicemia, endocarditis, or meningitis, in immunocompromised hosts. Although E. faecalis phage cocktails are not commercially available within the EU or USA, there is an accumulated evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies that have shown phage efficacy, which supports the idea of applying phage therapy to overcome infections associated with E. faecalis. In this review, we discuss the potency of bacteriophages in controlling E. faecalis, in both in vitro and in vivo scenarios. E. faecalis associated bacteriophages were compared at the genome level and an attempt was made to categorize phages with respect to their suitability for therapeutic application, using orthocluster analysis. In addition, E. faecalis phages have been examined for the presence of antibiotic-resistant genes, to ensure their safe use in clinical conditions. Finally, the domain architecture of E. faecalis phage-encoded endolysins are discussed.
    • Urease and Nitrification Inhibitors—As Mitigation Tools for Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Sustainable Dairy Systems: A Review

      Byrne, Maria P.; Tobin, John T.; Forrestal, Patrick J.; Danaher, Martin; Nkwonta, Chikere; Richards, Karl; Cummins, Enda; Hogan, Sean A.; O'Callaghan, Tom; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-07-27)
      Currently, nitrogen fertilizers are utilized to meet 48% of the total global food demand. The demand for nitrogen fertilizers is expected to grow as global populations continue to rise. The use of nitrogen fertilizers is associated with many negative environmental impacts and is a key source of greenhouse and harmful gas emissions. In recent years, urease and nitrification inhibitors have emerged as mitigation tools that are presently utilized in agriculture to prevent nitrogen losses and reduce greenhouse and harmful gas emissions that are associated with the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers. Both classes of inhibitor work by different mechanisms and have different physiochemical properties. Consequently, each class must be evaluated on its own merits. Although there are many benefits associated with the use of these inhibitors, little is known about their potential to enter the food chain, an event that may pose challenges to food safety. This phenomenon was highlighted when the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide was found as a residual contaminant in milk products in 2013. This comprehensive review aims to discuss the uses of inhibitor technologies in agriculture and their possible impacts on dairy product safety and quality, highlighting areas of concern with regards to the introduction of these inhibitor technologies into the dairy supply chain. Furthermore, this review discusses the benefits and challenges of inhibitor usage with a focus on EU regulations, as well as associated health concerns, chemical behavior, and analytical detection methods for these compounds within milk and environmental matrices.
    • Grazing of Dairy Cows in Europe—An In-Depth Analysis Based on the Perception of Grassland Experts

      van den Pol-van Dasselaar, Agnes; Hennessy, Deirdre; Isselstein, Johannes (MDPI AG, 2020-02-04)
      Grazing is inherently close to the nature of herbivores, but no longer applied everywhere in Europe. Therefore, the perception of grassland experts on the occurrence, importance, constraints, solutions and future of grazing of dairy cows was studied. The study builds on results from the European Grassland Federation Working Group Grazing in the period 2010–2019. Both surveys and focus group meetings were used. There is a clear trend of reduced grazing in Europe. Since grazing is valued by different stakeholders and provides many ecosystem services, solutions to the constraints to grazing must be found. Constraints can be divided into region specific constraints, farm specific constraints and farmer specific constraints. The solutions include developing new knowledge, bringing the knowledge already available to practice and rewarding farmers for grazing as a service to society. If grazing is not supported, it will further decline. However, a joined endeavour has the potential to make a significant difference in transforming grass-based production systems and stimulating grazing.
    • Assessing the Carbon Emission Driven by the Consumption of Carbohydrate-Rich Foods: The Case of China

      Yang, Xiaoke; Zhang, Zhihang; Chen, Huangyixin; Zhao, Rongrong; Xu, Zhongyue; Xie, Anguo; Chen, Qiuhua; Fujian Provincial Social Science Research Base for Ecological Civilization; Guangdong Planning Projects of Philosophy and Social Science; Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province; et al. (MDPI AG, 2019-03-28)
      Background: Carbohydrate-rich (CR) foods are essential parts of the Chinese diet. However, CR foods are often given less attention than animal-based foods. The objectives of this study were to analyze the carbon emissions caused by CR foods and to generate sustainable diets with low climate impact and adequate nutrients. Methods: Twelve common CR food consumption records from 4857 individuals were analyzed using K-means clustering algorithms. Furthermore, linear programming was used to generate optimized diets. Results: Total carbon emissions by CR foods was 683.38g CO2eq per day per capita, accounting for an annual total of 341.9Mt CO2eq. All individuals were ultimately divided into eight clusters, and none of the popular clusters were low carbon or nutrient sufficient. Optimized diets could reduce about 40% of carbon emissions compared to the average current diet. However, significant structural differences exist between the current diet and optimized diets. Conclusions: To reduce carbon emissions from the food chain, CR foods should be a research focus. Current Chinese diets need a big change to achieve positive environmental and health goals. The reduction of rice and wheat-based foods and an increase of bean foods were the focus of structural dietary change in CR food consumption.