Now showing items 1-20 of 2221

    • WO 2018/114971 A1 A method for producing beads

      Brodkorb, Andre; Haque, Kamrul; Teagasc Agriculture and Food Development Authority (2020-10-19)
      The current invention relates to a method for producing beads. In particular, the current invention relates to a method for producing microbeads. The invention also relates to a microbead preparation produced by the method of the invention.
    • AgriBenchmark: Benchmarking Sustainable Nutrient Management on Irish Farms

      Murphy, Paul N.C.; Thomas, Ian; Buckley, Cathal; Kelly, Edel; Dillon, Emma; Hennessy, Thia; Environmental Protection Agency (2020-10-14)
      AgriBenchmark explored the possibilities for benchmarking of nutrient management performance on Irish farms. Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) data (2008–2015; 1446 farms) were used to characterise and explore the potential for improvement of farm nutrient management performance and resultant aspects of environmental and economic sustainability through the derivation of three key performance indicators (KPIs) at the farm-gate level: farm nutrient balance (kgha–1), nutrient use efficiency (NUE; %) and profitability (gross margin; €ha–1). In this report, the farm nutrient balance is defined as the farm-gate nutrient imports (fertiliser, feed, animals, etc.) minus the exports (animals, crops, wool and milk). A positive balance (surplus) is considered to represent a nutrient source pressure in terms of the risk of nutrient losses to the wider environment. The data and analyses in this report cover the main, more intensive agricultural systems in Ireland (excluding pig and poultry farms) and are representative of, on average, 61% of farms nationally and 76% of the total utilised agriculture area (UAA; excluding commonage).
    • Associations between postpartum fertility phenotypes and genetic traits in seasonal-calving, pasture-based lactating dairy cows

      Rojas Canadas, E.; Herlihy, M.M.; Kenneally, J.; Grant, J.; Kearney, F.; Lonergan, P.; Butler, Stephen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF13S528 (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2019-10-01)
      The objective of this study was to evaluate the associations between corpus luteum (CL) status, uterine health, body condition score (BCS), metabolic status, and parity at wk 3 and 7 postpartum in seasonal-calving, pasture-based, lactating dairy cows. The associations between those phenotypes and individual genetic traits were also evaluated. First- and second-parity spring-calving lactating dairy cows (n = 2,600) from 35 dairy farms in Ireland were enrolled. Farms were visited every 2 weeks; cows that were at wk 3 (range 14 to 27 DIM) and wk 7 (range 42 to 55 DIM) postpartum were examined. Body condition score was measured using a scale of 1 to 5 with 0.25 increments. Transrectal ultrasound examination was performed at wk 3 and 7 postpartum to determine presence or absence of CL and ultrasound reproductive tract score. Blood samples were collected at each visit and the concentrations of glucose, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and fatty acids (FA) were analyzed by using enzymatic colorimetry. Cows were grouped into 3 BCS categories [low (≤2.5), target (≥2.75 and ≤3.25), and high (≥3.5)]; 2 CL status categories: (present or absent); 2 uterine health status (UHS) categories (normal and abnormal); and 3 metabolic status categories [good (high glucose, low fatty acids and BHB), poor (low glucose, high fatty acids and BHB), and moderate (all other combinations)]. Fisher's exact test was used to test associations between variables and was supplemented by logistic regression. We found associations between UHS (wk 3 and 7), BCS (wk 3 and 7), parity (wk 3 and 7) metabolic status (wk 3), and predicted transmitting ability for calving interval (PTA for CIV; wk 3) and CL status. Cows that had abnormal UHS, low BCS, primiparity, and poor metabolic status, and were in the quartile with the greatest PTA for CIV were less likely to have had CL present at wk 3 and 7 postpartum. We also found associations between CL status (wk 3 and 7), BCS (wk 3 and 7), parity (wk 3 and 7), and PTA for CIV (wk 3) and UHS. Cows that did not have a CL present had low BCS, primiparity, and that were in the quartile with greatest PTA for CIV, had a greater risk of abnormal UHS at wk 3 and 7 postpartum. We observed strong associations between CL status, UHS, BCS, metabolic status, parity, and individual genetic traits at wk 3 and 7 postpartum in seasonal-calving, pasture-based lactating dairy cows. Achieving target BCS and good metabolic status, and selecting cows based on PTA for CIV, are all expected to increase the likelihood of hastening the resumption of estrous cyclicity and enhancing uterine health during the postpartum period.
    • Using a reaction‐diffusion model to estimate day respiration and reassimilation of (photo)respiredCO2in leaves

      Berghuijs, Herman N. C.; Yin, Xinyou; Ho, Q. Tri; Retta, Moges A.; Nicolaï, Bart M.; Struik, Paul C.; the BioSolar Cells programme; Research Council of the KU Leuven; project C16/ 16/002 (Wiley, 2019-05-11)
      Methods using gas exchange measurements to estimate respiration in the light (day respiration Rd) make implicit assumptions about reassimilation of (photo)respired CO2; however, this reassimilation depends on the positions of mitochondria. We used a reaction-diffusion model without making these assumptions to analyse datasets on gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence and anatomy for tomato leaves. We investigated how Rd values obtained by the Kok and the Yin methods are affected by these assumptions and how those by the Laisk method are affected by the positions of mitochondria. The Kok method always underestimated Rd. Estimates of Rd by the Yin method and by the reaction-diffusion model agreed only for nonphotorespiratory conditions. Both the Yin and Kok methods ignore reassimilation of (photo)respired CO2, and thus underestimated Rd for photorespiratory conditions, but this was less so in the Yin than in the Kok method. Estimates by the Laisk method were affected by assumed positions of mitochondria. It did not work if mitochondria were in the cytosol between the plasmamembrane and the chloroplast envelope. However, mitochondria were found to be most likely between the tonoplast and chloroplasts. Our reaction-diffusion model effectively estimates Rd, enlightens the dependence of Rd estimates on reassimilation and clarifies (dis)advantages of existing methods.
    • Methodological Framework for Modelling the Impact of the Agriculture to Forestry Land Use Change at the Farm Level. Data Annex: A Distributional Analysis of the Social and Private Return to Farm Afforestation, Accounting for the Cost of Carbon

      O'Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Environmental Protection Agency (2020-10-13)
      There is a growing literature on the use of microsimulation models for agriculture, forestry and land use change (Richardson et al., 2014). Much of this literature addresses issues related to productivity and incomes (O’Donoghue, 2014), however consistent with an increasing global focus on sustainability, there is also increasing interest in combining analyses of both economic and environmental impacts (Ramilan et al., 2011). A sub-field of agricultural microsimulation addresses issues associated with land-use change from agriculture to forestry and vice versa (Ryan and O’Donoghue, 2019; Phimmavong & Keenan, 2020) and vice versa. The former transition is particularly important as it helps to mitigate significant carbon emissions from agriculture. This paper describes the development of a model that incorporates both economic and environmental dimensions of the land-use change from agriculture to forestry.
    • Milk adulteration with acidified rennet whey: a limitation for caseinomacropeptide detection by high-performance liquid chromatography

      de Pádua Alves, Érika; de Alcântara, Anna Laura D'Amico; Guimarães, Anselmo José Klaechim; de Santana, Elsa Helena Walter; Botaro, Bruno Garcia; Fagnani, Rafael; Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior; Fundação Nacional de Desenvolvimento do Ensino Superior Particular (Wiley, 2018-03-02)
      BACKGROUND High‐performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is widely employed to determine the caseinomacropeptide (CMP) index and to detect milk tampering with rennet whey. Prior to HPLC analysis, CMP is subject to a trichloracetic acid isolation, causing further soluble proteins in the sample to precipitate. On this basis, we aimed to determine whether rennet whey acidification could adversely affect the HPLC sensitivity with respect to detecting this peptide. RESULTS As hypothesized, the CMP index from milk with added acidified rennet whey was, on average, half that quantified from milk with added rennet whey. Moreover, the quantum satis of acidified whey added to milk sufficient to demonstrate a HPLC CMP > 30 mg L–1 was 94% greater than that required for this threshold to be reached with rennet whey. CONCLUSION Milk tampering with acidified rennet whey may limit the analytical sensitivity of the reversed‐phase HPLC employed for the screening of CMP and, ultimately, disguise the fraudulent addition of whey to milk. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry
    • Intra-Group Lethal Gang Aggression in Domestic Pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus)

      Camerlink, Irene; Chou, Jen-Yun; Turner, Simon P.; European Cooperation in Science and Technology; Scottish Government Strategic Research (MDPI AG, 2020-07-28)
      Intraspecific coalitional aggression is rare among all species, especially within stable social groups. We report here numerous cases of intraspecific lethal gang aggression within stable groups of domestic pigs. The objective was to describe this extreme aggression and to identify potential causes. Management data were collected from farms with (n = 23) and without (n = 19) gang aggression. From one farm, 91 victims were assessed for skin injuries and body condition score. Lethal gang aggression was significantly associated with deep straw bedding, which may be related to various other factors. Gang aggression tended to occur more in winter, and was unrelated to genetic line, breeding company, group size or feed type. It occurred equally in female-only and mixed sex groups (male-only groups were not represented), from around eight weeks of age. Injuries typically covered the whole body and were more severe on the front of the body. Victims who survived had a lower body condition score and fewer injuries than victims found dead. There are still many unknowns as to why this abnormal social behaviour occurs and it deserves further research attention, both for its applied relevance to animal welfare as for the evolutionary background of lethal gang aggression.
    • Fate of beta-glucan, polyphenols and lipophilic compounds in baked crackers fortified with different barley-milled fractions

      Gangopadhyay, Nirupama; O'Shea, Norah; Brunton, Nigel P.; Gallagher, Eimear; Harrison, Sabine M.; Rai, Dilip K.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; FIRM 11/SF/317 (Elsevier BV, 2019-07-18)
      Four types of crackers were prepared, whereby wheat flour was substituted with different percentages of barley flour and bran. These formulations were compared to a 100% wheat flour (control) cracker with respect to β-glucan, polyphenols and lipophilic bioactives. Incorporation of barley fractions enriched the β-glucan, and phenolic content, as well as in vitro antioxidant capacities of the crackers. However, some polyphenols including procyanidin C and ferulic acid could not be detected in the crackers owing to the probable degradation of these compounds during baking. The β-glucan, flavanols (catechin and procyanidin B), as well as fatty acids and sterols were least affected; while the α-tocotrienols showed degradation following the baking process. Overall, barley fractions can serve as valued ingredients for enhancing the health-salutary components of fortified crackers or the products thereof.
    • Effect of Exposure to Seminal Plasma Through Natural Mating in Cattle on Conceptus Length and Gene Expression

      Mateo-Otero, Yentel; Sánchez, José María; Recuero, Sandra; Bagés-Arnal, Sandra; McDonald, Michael; Kenny, David A.; Yeste, Marc; Lonergan, Pat; Fernandez-Fuertes, Beatriz; European Union; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2020-05-12)
      A growing body of evidence suggests that paternal factors have an impact on offspring development. These studies have been mainly carried out in mice, where seminal plasma (SP) has been shown to regulate endometrial gene expression and impact embryo development and subsequent offspring health. In cattle, infusion of SP into the uterus also induces changes in endometrial gene expression, however, evidence for an effect of SP on early embryo development is lacking. In addition, during natural mating, the bull ejaculates in the vagina; hence, it is not clear whether any SP reaches the uterus in this species. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine whether SP exposure leads to improved early embryo survival and developmental rates in cattle. To this end, Day 7 in vitro produced blastocysts were transferred to heifers (12–15 per heifer) previously mated to vasectomized bulls (n = 13 heifers) or left unmated (n = 12 heifers; control). At Day 14, heifers were slaughtered, and conceptuses were recovered to assess size, morphology and expression of candidate genes involved in different developmental pathways. Additionally, CL volume at Day 7, and weight and volume of CL at Day 14 were recorded. No effect of SP on CL volume and weight not on conceptus recovery rate was observed. However, filamentous conceptuses recovered from SP-exposed heifers were longer in comparison to the control group and differed in expression of CALM1, CITED1, DLD, HNRNPDL, PTGS2, and TGFB3. In conclusion, data indicate that female exposure to SP during natural mating can affect conceptus development in cattle. This is probably achieved through modulation of the female reproductive environment at the time of mating. Keywords: seminal plasma, embryo development, corpus luteum
    • Genomic Regions Associated With Gestation Length Detected Using Whole-Genome Sequence Data Differ Between Dairy and Beef Cattle

      Purfield, Deirdre C.; Evans, Ross D.; Carthy, Tara R.; Berry, Donagh P.; European Union; Science Foundation Ireland; 727213; 14/IA/2576; 16/RC/3835 (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-11-05)
      While many association studies exist that have attempted to relate genomic markers to phenotypic performance in cattle, very few have considered gestation length as a phenotype, and of those that did, none used whole genome sequence data from multiple breeds. The objective of the present study was therefore to relate imputed whole genome sequence data to estimated breeding values for gestation length using 22,566 sires (representing 2,262,706 progeny) of multiple breeds [Angus (AA), Charolais (CH), Holstein-Friesian (HF), and Limousin (LM)]. The associations were undertaken within breed using linear mixed models that accounted for genomic relatedness among sires; a separate association analysis was undertaken with all breeds analysed together but with breed included as a fixed effect in the model. Furthermore, the genome was divided into 500 kb segments and whether or not segments harboured a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) with a P ≤ 1 × 10-4 common to different combinations of breeds was determined. Putative quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions associated with gestation length were detected in all breeds; significant associations with gestation length were only detected in the HF population and in the across-breed analysis of all 22,566 sires. Twenty-five SNPs were significantly associated (P ≤ 5 × 10-8) with gestation length in the HF population. Of the 25 significant SNPs, 18 were located within three QTLs on Bos taurus autosome number (BTA) 18, six were in two QTL on BTA19, and one was located within a QTL on BTA7. The strongest association was rs381577268, a downstream variant of ZNF613 located within a QTL spanning from 58.06 to 58.19 Mb on BTA18; it accounted for 1.37% of the genetic variance in gestation length. Overall there were 11 HF animals within the edited dataset that were homozygous for the T allele at rs381577268 and these had a 3.3 day longer (P < 0.0001) estimated breeding value (EBV) for gestation length than the heterozygous animals and a 4.7 day longer (P < 0.0001) EBV for gestation length than the homozygous CC animals. The majority of the 500 kb windows harboring a SNP with a P ≤ 1 × 10-4 were unique to a single breed and no window was shared among all four breeds for gestation length, suggesting any QTLs identified are breed-specific associations.
    • Predicting the Distribution of High Nature Value farmland in Ireland: IDEAL-HNV

      Finn, John; Sullivan, Caroline; O’hÚallacháin, Daire; Green, Stuart; Clifford, Brian; Matin, Shafique; Meredith, David; Moran, James (2020-08-28)
      Conference presentation outlining the IDEAL-HNV project
    • Expression, purification and antimicrobial activity of recombinant pediocin PA-1 M31L, a PA-1 derivative with enhanced stability

      Kuniyoshi, Taís Mayumi; O’ Connor, Paula M.; Arbulu, Sara; Mesa-Pereira, Beatriz; Pinheiro de Souza Oliveira, Ricardo; Hill, Collin; Ross, Paul; Cotter, Paul D. (Microbiology Society, 2019-03-01)
      Pediocin, the prototypical class IIa bacteriocin, is an efficient antilisterial molecule. Loss of pediocin PA-1 activity is attributed to methionine oxidation at position 31 and this can be overcome by substituting methionine for leucine (pediocin M31L). The aim of this study was to produce pediocin M31L with enhanced stability by recombinant expression in E. coli cells.
    • Validation of an Automated Body Condition Scoring System Using 3D Imaging

      O’ Leary, Niall O’; Leso, Lorenzo; Buckley, Frank; Kenneally, Jonathon; McSweeney, Diarmuid; Shalloo, Laurence; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13/IA/1977; 16/RC/3835 (MDPI AG, 2020-06-26)
      Body condition scores (BCS) measure a cow’s fat reserves and is important for management and research. Manual BCS assessment is subjective, time-consuming, and requires trained personnel. The BodyMat F (BMF, Ingenera SA, Cureglia, Switzerland) is an automated body condition scoring system using a 3D sensor to estimate BCS. This study assesses the BMF. One hundred and three Holstein Friesian cows were assessed by the BMF and two assessors throughout a lactation. The BMF output is in the 0–5 scale commonly used in France. We develop and report the first equation to convert these scores to the 1–5 scale used by the assessors in Ireland in this study ((0–5 scale × 0.38) + 1.67 → 1–5 scale). Inter-assessor agreement as measured by Lin’s concordance of correlation was 0.67. BMF agreement with the mean of the two assessors was the same as between assessors (0.67). However, agreement was lower for extreme values, particularly in over-conditioned cows where the BMF underestimated BCS relative to the mean of the two human observers. The BMF outperformed human assessors in terms of reproducibility and thus is likely to be especially useful in research contexts. This is the second independent validation of a commercially marketed body condition scoring system as far as the authors are aware. Comparing the results here with the published evaluation of the other system, we conclude that the BMF performed as well or better.
    • Screening commercial teat disinfectants against bacteria isolated from bovine milk using disk diffusion

      Fitzpatrick, Sarah Rose; Garvey, Mary; Jordan, Kieran; Flynn, Jim; O'Brien, Bernadette; Gleeson, David; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; MKLS0006; 2016054 (Veterinary World, 2019-05-06)
      Background and Aim: Teat disinfection is an important tool in reducing the incidence of bovine mastitis. Identifying the potential mastitis-causing bacterial species in milk can be the first step in choosing the correct teat disinfectant product. The objective of this study was to screen commercial teat disinfectants for inhibition against mastitis-associated bacteria isolated from various types of milk samples. Materials and Methods: Twelve commercially available teat disinfectant products were tested, against 12 mastitis-associated bacteria strains isolated from bulk tank milk samples and bacterial strains isolated from clinical (n=2) and subclinical (n=3) quarter foremilk samples using the disk diffusion method. Results: There was a significant variation (7-30 mm) in bacterial inhibition between teat disinfection products, with products containing a lactic acid combination (with chlorhexidine or salicylic acid) resulting in the greatest levels of bacterial inhibition against all tested bacteria (p<0.05). Conclusion: In this study, combined ingredients in teat disinfection products had greater levels of bacterial inhibition than when the ingredients were used individually. The disk diffusion assay is a suitable screening method to effectively differentiate the bacterial inhibition of different teat disinfectant products.
    • Environmental footprint family to address local to planetary sustainability and deliver on the SDGs

      Vanham, Davy; Leip, Adrian; Galli, Alessandro; Kastner, Thomas; Bruckner, Martin; Uwizeye, Aimable; van Dijk, Kimo; Ercin, Ertug; Dalin, Carole; Brandão, Miguel; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2019-07-29)
      The number of publications on environmental footprint indicators has been growing rapidly, but with limited efforts to integrate different footprints into a coherent framework. Such integration is important for comprehensive understanding of environmental issues, policy formulation and assessment of trade-offs between different environmental concerns. Here, we systematize published footprint studies and define a family of footprints that can be used for the assessment of environmental sustainability. We identify overlaps between different footprints and analyse how they relate to the nine planetary boundaries and visualize the crucial information they provide for local and planetary sustainability. In addition, we assess how the footprint family delivers on measuring progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), considering its ability to quantify environmental pressures along the supply chain and relating them to the water-energy-food-ecosystem (WEFE) nexus and ecosystem services. We argue that the footprint family is a flexible framework where particular members can be included or excluded according to the context or area of concern. Our paper is based upon a recent workshop bringing together global leading experts on existing environmental footprint indicators.
    • Fecal Microbiota Transplant From Highly Feed Efficient Donors Affects Cecal Physiology and Microbiota in Low- and High-Feed Efficient Chickens

      Metzler-Zebeli, Barbara U.; Siegerstetter, Sina-Catherine; Magowan, Elizabeth; Lawlor, Peadar G.; O′Connell, Niamh E.; Zebeli, Qendrim; European Union; 311794 (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-07-09)
      Fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) may be used to improve chicken’s feed efficiency (FE) via modulation of the intestinal microbiota and microbe-host signaling. This study investigated the effect of the administration of FMT from highly feed efficient donors early in life on the jejunal and cecal microbiota, visceral organ size, intestinal morphology, permeability, and expression of genes for nutrient transporters, barrier function and innate immune response in chickens of diverging residual feed intake (RFI; a metric for FE). Chicks (n = 110) were inoculated with the FMT or control transplant (CT) on 1, 6, and 9 days posthatch (dph), from which 56 chickens were selected on 30 dph as the extremes in RFI, resulting in 15 low and 13 high RFI chickens receiving the FMT and 14 low and 14 high RFI chickens receiving the CT. RFI rank and FMT only caused tendencies for alterations in the jejunal microbiota and only one unclassified Lachnospiraceae genus in cecal digesta was indicative of high RFI. By contrast, the FMT caused clear differences in the short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) profile in the crop and cecal microbiota composition compared to the CT, which indicated alterations in amylolytic, pullulanolytic and hemicellulolytic bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Dorea, and Ruminococcus. Moreover, the FMT caused alterations in intestinal development as indicated by the longer duodenum and shallower crypts in the ceca. From the observed RFI-associated variation, energy-saving mechanisms and moderation of the mucosal immune response were indicated by higher jejunal permeability, shorter villi in the ileum, and enhanced cecal expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL10 in low RFI chickens. Relationships obtained from supervised multigroup data integration support that certain bacteria, including Ruminococcocaceae-, Lactobacillus-, and unclassified Clostridiales-phylotypes, and SCFA in jejunal and cecal digesta modulated expression levels of cytokines, tight-junction protein OCLN and nutrient transporters for glucose and SCFA uptake. In conclusion, results suggest that the intestine only played a moderate role for the RFI-associated variation of the present low and high RFI phenotypes, whereas modulating the early microbial colonization resulted in longlasting changes in bacterial taxonomic and metabolite composition as well as in host intestinal development.
    • Use of Lactic Acid Bacteria to Reduce Methane Production in Ruminants, a Critical Review

      Doyle, Natasha; Mbandlwa, Philiswa; Kelly, William J.; Attwood, Graeme; Li, Yang; Ross, R. Paul; Stanton, Catherine; Leahy, Sinead; European Union; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-10-01)
      Enteric fermentation in ruminants is the single largest anthropogenic source of agricultural methane and has a significant role in global warming. Consequently, innovative solutions to reduce methane emissions from livestock farming are required to ensure future sustainable food production. One possible approach is the use of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Gram positive bacteria that produce lactic acid as a major end product of carbohydrate fermentation. LAB are natural inhabitants of the intestinal tract of mammals and are among the most important groups of microorganisms used in food fermentations. LAB can be readily isolated from ruminant animals and are currently used on-farm as direct-fed microbials (DFMs) and as silage inoculants. While it has been proposed that LAB can be used to reduce methane production in ruminant livestock, so far research has been limited, and convincing animal data to support the concept are lacking. This review has critically evaluated the current literature and provided a comprehensive analysis and summary of the potential use and mechanisms of LAB as a methane mitigation strategy. It is clear that although there are some promising results, more research is needed to identify whether the use of LAB can be an effective methane mitigation option for ruminant livestock.
    • Choice of artificial insemination beef bulls used to mate with female dairy cattle

      Berry, Donagh P.; Ring, S.C.; Twomey, A.J.; Evans, R.D.; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 16/RC/3835 (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2020-02)
      Understanding the preferences of dairy cattle producers when selecting beef bulls for mating can help inform beef breeding programs as well as provide default parameters in mating advice systems. The objective of the present study was to characterize the genetic merit of beef artificial insemination (AI) bulls used in dairy herds, with particular reference to traits associated with both calving performance and carcass merit. The characteristics of the beef AI bulls used were compared with those of the dairy AI bulls used on the same farms. A total of 2,733,524 AI records from 928,437 females in 5,967 Irish dairy herds were used. Sire predicted transmitting ability (PTA) values and associated reliability values for calving performance and carcass traits based on national genetic evaluations from prior to the insemination were used. Fixed effects models were used to relate both genetic merit and the associated reliability of the dairy and beef bulls used on the farm with herd size, the extent of Holstein-Friesian × Jersey crossbreeding adopted by the herd, whether the herd used a technician insemination service or do-ityourself, and the parity of the female mated. The mean direct calving difficulty PTA of the beef bulls used was 1.85 units higher than that of the dairy bulls but with over 3 times greater variability in the beef bulls. This 1.85 units equates biologically to an expectation of 1.85 more dystocia events per 100 dairy cows mated in the beef × dairy matings. The mean calving difficulty PTA of the dairy AI bulls used reduced with increasing herd size, whereas the mean calving difficulty PTA of the beef AI bulls used increased as herd size increased from 75 cows or fewer to 155 cows; the largest herds (>155 cows) used notably easier-calving beef bulls, albeit the calving difficulty PTA of the beef bulls was 3.33 units versus 1.67 units for the dairy bulls used in these herds. Although we found a general tendency for larger herds to use dairy AI bulls with lower reliability, this trend was not obvious in the beef AI bulls used. Irrespective of whether dairy or beef AI bulls were considered, herds that operated more extensive Holstein-Friesian × Jersey crossbreeding (i.e., more than 50% crossbred cows) used, on average, easier calving, shorter gestationlength bulls with lighter expected progeny carcasses of poorer conformation. Mean calving difficulty PTA of dairy bulls used increased from 1.39 in heifers to 1.79 in first-parity cows and to 1.82 in second-parity cows, remaining relatively constant thereafter. In contrast, the mean calving difficulty PTA of the beef bulls used increased consistently with cow parity. Results from the present study demonstrate a clear difference in the mean acceptable genetic merit of beef AI bulls relative to dairy AI bulls but also indicates that these acceptable limits vary by herd characteristics.
    • Differences in intestinal size, structure, and function contributing to feed efficiency in broiler chickens reared at geographically distant locations

      Metzler-Zebeli, B.U.; Magowan, E.; Hollmann, M.; Ball, M.E.E.; Molnár, A.; Witter, K.; Ertl, R.; Hawken, R.J.; Lawlor, Peadar G.; O’Connell, N.E.; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2018-02)
      The contribution of the intestinal tract to differences in residual feed intake (RFI) has been inconclusively studied in chickens so far. It is also not clear if RFI-related differences in intestinal function are similar in chickens raised in different environments. The objective was to investigate differences in nutrient retention, visceral organ size, intestinal morphology, jejunal permeability and expression of genes related to barrier function, and innate immune response in chickens of diverging RFI raised at 2 locations (L1: Austria; L2: UK). The experimental protocol was similar, and the same dietary formulation was fed at the 2 locations. Individual BW and feed intake (FI) of chickens (Cobb 500FF) were recorded from d 7 of life. At 5 wk of life, chickens (L1, n = 157; L2 = 192) were ranked according to their RFI, and low, medium, and high RFI chickens were selected (n = 9/RFI group, sex, and location). RFI values were similar between locations within the same RFI group and increased by 446 and 464 g from low to high RFI in females and males, respectively. Location, but not RFI rank, affected growth, nutrient retention, size of the intestine, and jejunal disaccharidase activity. Chickens from L2 had lower total body weight gain and mucosal enzyme activity but higher nutrient retention and longer intestines than chickens at L1. Parameters determined only at L1 showed increased crypt depth in the duodenum and jejunum and enhanced paracellular permeability in low vs. high RFI females. Jejunal expression of IL1B was lower in low vs. high RFI females at L2, whereas that of TLR4 at L1 and MCT1 at both locations was higher in low vs. high RFI males. Correlation analysis between intestinal parameters and feed efficiency metrics indicated that feed conversion ratio was more correlated to intestinal size and function than was RFI. In conclusion, the rearing environment greatly affected intestinal size and function, thereby contributing to the variation in chicken RFI observed across locations.
    • A Live Bio-Therapeutic for Mastitis, Containing Lactococcus lactis DPC3147 With Comparable Efficacy to Antibiotic Treatment

      Kitching, Michael; Mathur, Harsh; Flynn, James; Byrne, Noel; Dillon, Pat; Sayers, Riona; Rea, Mary C.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul; Enterprise Ireland; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-09-27)
      Bovine mastitis is an ongoing significant concern in the dairy and agricultural industry resulting in substantial losses in milk production and revenue. Among the predominant etiological agents of bovine mastitis are Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus uberis, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, and Escherichia coli. Currently, the treatment of choice for bovine mastitis involves the use of commercial therapeutic antibiotic formulations such as TerrexineTM, containing both kanamycin and cephalexin. Such antibiotics are regularly administered in more than one dose resulting in the withholding of milk for processing for a number of days. Here, we describe the optimization of a formulation of Lactococcus lactis DPC3147, that produces the two-component bacteriocin lacticin 3147, in a liquid paraffin-based emulsion (formulation hereafter designated ‘live bio-therapeutic’) for the first time and compare it to the commercial antibiotic formulation TerrexineTM, with a view to treating cows with clinical/sub-clinical mastitis. Critically, in a field trial described here, this ‘ready-to-use’ emulsion containing live L. lactis DPC3147 cells exhibited comparable efficacy to TerrexineTM when used to treat mastitic cows. Furthermore, we found that the L. lactis cells within this novel emulsion-based formulation remained viable for up to 5 weeks, when stored at 4, 22, or 37◦C. The relative ease and cost-effective nature of producing this ‘live bio-therapeutic’ formulation, in addition to its enhanced shelf life compared to previous aqueous-based formulations, indicate that this product could be a viable alternative therapeutic option for bovine mastitis. Moreover, the singledose administration of this ‘live bio-therapeutic’ formulation is a further advantage, as it can expedite the return of the milk to the milk pool, in comparison to some commercial antibiotics. Overall, in this field trial, we show that the live bio-therapeutic formulation displayed a 47% cure rate compared to a 50% cure rate for a commercial antibiotic control, with respect to curing cows with clinical/sub-clinical mastitis. The study suggests that a larger field trial to further demonstrate efficacy is warranted.