Now showing items 1-20 of 2711

    • Modelling the production, profit, and greenhouse gas emissions of Irish sheep flocks divergent in genetic merit

      Farrell, L.; Herron, J.; Pabiou, T.; McHugh, Noirin; McDermott, K.; Shalloo, Laurence; O'Brien, D.; Bohan, A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 17/S/235; et al. (Elsevier, 2022-08-31)
      CONTEXTSheep production industries face the challenge of increasing farm production and profit while reducing environmental impacts. OBJECTIVESGenetic selection using multi-trait breeding indices can be used to improve flock productivity, profitability, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensities (kg CO2-eq /kg of product), however validation of the improved performance of animals ranked higher on breeding indices at a flock level is required. METHODSPhenotypic data from 387,580 production records of animals born between 2018 and 2020 of known genetic merit in commercial flocks were inputted to an established bio-economic model. Two contrasting flocks were compared, a flock of ewes ranked High (top 20%) on the Irish replacement Index bred with rams ranked High on the replacement and terminal indices, and a flock of ewes ranked Low (bottom 20%) on the Irish replacement Index bred with rams ranked Low on the replacement and terminal indices. The two flocks were then simulated using life cycle assessment to estimate the GHG emissions profile for both systems. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONFlock weaning rates were 1.70 and 1.53 lambs weaned per ewe presented for breeding for the High and Low genetic merit flocks, respectively. The flock of High genetic merit ewes sold 0.17 more lambs per ewe, equating to 3.29 kg more lamb carcass per ewe, than the flock of Low genetic merit ewes; lambs from the High genetic merit flock were also sold at an earlier age. The greater production of the High genetic merit flocks resulted in an additional €18/ewe net profit than the Low genetic merit flock. Although total flock GHG emissions were higher for the High genetic merit flock, GHG emissions intensities were lower at 21.7 and 23.3 kg CO2-eq /kg lamb carcass sold for the High and Low genetic merit flocks, respectively. The lower emissions intensity of the High genetic merit flock was due to the dilution effect of higher lamb production and lambs being drafted for slaughter ealier. SIGNIFICANCEThe results suggest Irish sheep producers can make substantial profit gains through selection according to the national breeding indices while also reducing their environmental impact, and farmers should consider genetic merit when purchasing their rams, particularly sires of replacement ewe lambs.
    • High-Pressure Processing on Whole and Peeled Potatoes: Influence on Polyphenol Oxidase, Antioxidants, and Glycaemic Indices

      Tsikrika, Konstantina; Muldoon, Aine; O'Brien, Nora, M.; Rai, Dilip; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 17/F/299 (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021-10-13)
      Polyphenol oxidase (PPO) inactivation in five whole and peeled Irish potato cultivars was investigated using high-pressure processing (HPP) at 400 MPa and 600 MPa for 3 min. PPO activity was significantly lower in most of the HPP-treated samples, while the highest PPO inactivation was observed after HPP at 600 MPa. No significant (p > 0.05) changes were observed on the total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of all the HPP-treated potatoes. Regarding individual phenolic acids, chlorogenic acid was decreased significantly (p < 0.05) in all studied varieties with a concomitant increase (p < 0.05) in caffeic and quinic acid. Similarly, ferulic acid was also increased (p < 0.05) in all studied varieties after the HPP treatment, while there was a variation in rutin and 4-coumaric acid levels depending on the cultivar and the sample type. Anthocyanins in the coloured whole potato varieties (i.e., Kerr’s Pink and Rooster), tentatively identified as pelargonidin-O-ferulorylrutinoside-O-hexoside and pelargonidin-O-rutinoside-O-hexoside, also exhibited significantly (p < 0.05) higher levels in the HPP-treated samples as opposed to those untreated. Glycaemic indices of the potatoes treated with HPP did not differ with the corresponding untreated cultivars.
    • Migration of Cefquinome Antibiotic Residues from Milk to Dairy Products

      Di Rocco, Melissa; Scollard, Jonathan; Sayers, Riona; Furey, Ambrose; Danaher, Martin; Jordan, Kieran; Lourenco, Antonio; Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine; 13/F/484 (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021-11-19)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the distribution of cefquinome in different dairy products during the processing of naturally contaminated milk or spiked milk. The analysis of cefquinome residues in milk, skimmed milk, buttermilk, whey, cream, butter, curd, and cheese samples was performed using a water:acetonitrile solvent extraction and C18 dispersive solid-phase extraction (d-SPE) clean-up, followed by ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) determination. The target concentration of cefquinome was achieved in the spiked milk (100 µg kg−1). During its processing, the antibiotic migrated primarily with the skimmed milk as opposed to cream (ratios of 3.6:1 and 2.8:1 for experiments A and B, respectively), and with the buttermilk during butter manufacture (ratios of 6.9:1 and 4.6:1), but was equal in the curd and whey during the manufacture of cheese. In the milk collected from treated animals, the measured concentration of cefquinome was considerably high (approx. 5000 µg kg−1). The results obtained from the dairy products were similar to those obtained in the spiked study (ratios of 8.2:1 and 3.1:1 for experiments A and B, respectively, during the separation of skimmed milk and cream; 6.0:1 and 5.0:1 for A and B, respectively, during the separation of buttermilk and butter). However, during cheesemaking, cefquinome migrated with the whey after cutting the curd, with ratios of 0.54:1 and 0.44:1 for experiments A and B, respectively. The difference in the migration of cefquinome between curd and whey in spiked and animal studies is probably due to the different concentration levels in the two different experiments. The results of this study showed that, in dairy products manufactured from milk containing cefquinome residues, the drug migrated primarily with the high-water-containing fractions.
    • Rehydration Properties of Whey Protein Isolate Powders Containing Nanoparticulated Proteins

      Guralnick, Jacob R.; Panthi, Ram R.; Cenini, Valeria L.; Mishra, Vinay S. N.; O’Hagan, Barry M. G.; Crowley, Shane V.; O’Mahony, James A.; Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland; DAIRYDRY 15-F-679 (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021-10-27)
      The rehydration properties of original whey protein isolate (WPIC) powder and spray-dried WPI prepared from either unheated (WPIUH) or nanoparticulated WPI solutions were investigated. Nanoparticulation of whey proteins was achieved by subjecting reconstituted WPIC solutions (10% protein, w/w, pH 7.0) to heat treatment at 90 °C for 30 s with no added calcium (WPIH) or with 2.5 mM added calcium (WPIHCa). Powder surface nanostructure and elemental composition were investigated using atomic force microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, followed by dynamic visualisation of wetting and dissolution characteristics using environmental scanning electron microscopy. The surface of powder particles for both WPIUH and WPIC samples generally appeared smooth, while WPIH and WPIHCa displayed micro-wrinkles with more significant deposition of nitrogen and calcium elements. WPIH and WPIHCa exhibited lower wettability and solubility performance than WPIUH and WPIC during microscopic observation. This study demonstrated that heat-induced aggregation of whey proteins, in the presence or absence of added calcium, before drying increases aggregate size, alters the powder surface properties, consequently impairing their wetting characteristics. This study also developed a fundamental understanding of WPI powder obtained from nanoparticulated whey proteins, which could be applied for the development of functional whey-based ingredients in food formulations, such as nanospacers to modulate protein–protein interactions in dairy concentrates.
    • Changes to the Oligosaccharide Profile of Bovine Milk at the Onset of Lactation

      Quinn, Erin M.; O'Callaghan, Tom F.; T. Tobin, John; Murphy, John Paul; Sugrue, Katie; Slattery, Helen; O'Donovan, Michael; Hickey, Rita M.; Teagasc (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020-12-01)
      Numerous bioactive components exist in human milk including free oligosaccharides, which represent some of the most important, and provide numerous health benefits to the neonate. Considering the demonstrated value of these compounds, much interest lies in characterising structurally similar oligosaccharides in the dairy industry. In this study, the impacts of days post-parturition and parity of the cows on the oligosaccharide and lactose profiles of their milk were evaluated. Colostrum and milk samples were obtained from 18 cows 1–5 days after parturition. Three distinct phases were identified using multivariate analysis: colostrum (day 0), transitional milk (days 1–2) and mature milk (days 3–5). LS-tetrasaccharide c, lacto-N-neotetraose, disialyllacto-N-tetraose, 3’-sial-N-acetyllactosamine, 3’-sialyllactose, lacto-N-neohexaose and disialyllactose were found to be highly affiliated with colostrum. Notably, levels of lactose were at their lowest concentration in the colostrum and substantially increased 1-day post-parturition. The cow’s parity was also shown to have a significant effect on the oligosaccharide profile, with first lactation cows containing more disialyllacto-N-tetraose, 6’-sialyllactose and LS-tetrasaccharide compared to cows in their second or third parity. Overall, this study identifies key changes in oligosaccharide and lactose content that clearly distinguish colostrum from transitional and mature milk and may facilitate the collection of specific streams with divergent biological functions.
    • Quantification of cow milk yield and pre-weaning calf growth response in temperate pasture-based beef suckler systems: A meta-analysis

      Sapkota, D.; Kelly, A. K.; Crosson, Paul; White, R.R.; McGee, Mark; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme (Elsevier, 2020-11-30)
      The objectives of this study were to quantitatively summarize factors associated with cow milk yield (MY) and calf growth response in pasture-based beef cow-calf suckler systems and to discern how cow genotype and parity influenced these responses. A dataset of 344 treatment mean observations was compiled from 69 studies that reported data on cow MY, and calf pre-weaning average daily live weight gain (ADG) and/or weaning weight (WW). Data were analysed using linear mixed effects models with study and region included as random effects. Models were developed for cow MY, calf ADG and WW response and each model was evaluated based on different model fit statistics. The final cow MY model included cow origin (Dairybeef or Beef), cow maturity (early-maturing (EM) or late-maturing (LM) genotypes) and parity. Dairybeef produced 35.4% more milk (8.64 vs. 6.38 kg/day) than Beef cows, and LM produced 20.9% more milk (8.20 vs. 6.78 kg/day) than EM genotypes (P < 0.001). Multiparous cows had a 14.8% higher MY (8.11 vs. 7.06 kg/day) compared to primiparous cows (P < 0.001). Lactation curve persistency was better (P < 0.05) for Beef and EM compared to Dairybeef and LM genotype cows, respectively. The final models of calf ADG and WW included cow origin, cow maturity and parity. Calves from Dairybeef and LM cows were 14 and 20 kg heavier (P < 0.001) at weaning (210-day adjusted) compared to those from Beef and EM genotype cows, respectively. Calves from multiparous cows were 13 kg heavier at weaning than those from primiparous cows (P < 0.001). The response in calf ADG associated with a 1 kg increase in cow daily MY was 47 and 53 g for Dairybeef and Beef cows, respectively (P < 0.001). Corresponding responses for EM and LM cows were 51 and 55 g (P < 0.001). In conclusion, the relationships between cow MY and calf pre-weaning growth, as well as the quantitative impact of cow genotype and parity were determined for pasture-based beef suckler systems; the coefficients generated can be used for improving beef cow-calf management strategies, beef cattle breeding programmes and bio-economic modelling purposes.
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG soluble mediators ameliorate early life stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity and changes in spinal cord gene expression

      McVey Neufeld, Karen-Anne; Strain, Conall R.; Pusceddu, Matteo M.; Waworuntu, Rosaline V.; Manurung, Sarmauli; Gross, Gabriele; M. Moloney, Gerry; Hoban, Alan E.; Murphy, Kiera; STANTON, CATHERINE; et al. (Portland Press Ltd., 2020-11-23)
      Visceral hypersensitivity is a hallmark of many functional and stress-related gastrointestinal disorders, and there is growing evidence that the gut microbiota may play a role in its pathophysiology. It has previously been shown that early life stress-induced visceral sensitivity is reduced by various probiotic strains of bacteria (including Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG)) alone or in combination with prebiotic fibres in rat models. However, the exact mechanisms underpinning such effects remain unresolved. Here, we investigated if soluble mediators derived from LGG can mimic the bacteria’s effects on visceral hypersensitivity and the microbiota–gut–brain axis. Rats were exposed to maternal separation (MS) from postnatal days 2–12. From weaning onwards both non-separated (NS) and MS offspring were provided drinking water with or without supplementation of standardized preparations of the LGG soluble mediators (LSM). Our results show that MS led to increased visceral sensitivity and exaggerated corticosterone plasma levels following restraint stress in adulthood, and both of these effects were ameliorated through LSM supplementation. Differential regulation of various genes in the spinal cord of MS versus NS rats was observed, 41 of which were reversed by LSM supplementation. At the microbiota composition level MS led to changes in beta diversity and abundance of specific bacteria including parabacteroides, which were ameliorated by LSM. These findings support probiotic soluble mediators as potential interventions in the reduction of symptoms of visceral hypersensitivity.
    • The gut microbiome influences the bioavailability of olanzapine in rats

      Cussotto, Sofia; Walsh, Jacinta; Golubeva, Anna V.; Zhdanov, Alexander V.; Strain, Conall R.; Fouhy, Fiona; STANTON, CATHERINE; Dinan, Timothy G.; Hyland, Niall P.; Clarke, Gerard; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2021-03-11)
      Background: The role of the gut microbiome in the biotransformation of drugs has recently come under scrutiny. It remains unclear whether the gut microbiome directly influences the extent of drug absorbed after oral administration and thus potentially alters clinical pharmacokinetics. Methods: In this study, we evaluated whether changes in the gut microbiota of male Sprague Dawley rats, as a result of either antibiotic or probiotic administration, influenced the oral bioavailability of two commonly prescribed antipsychotics, olanzapine and risperidone. Findings: The bioavailability of olanzapine, was significantly increased (1.8-fold) in rats that had undergone antibiotic-induced depletion of gut microbiota, whereas the bioavailability of risperidone was unchanged. There was no direct effect of microbiota depletion on the expression of major CYP450 enzymes involved in the metabolism of either drug. However, the expression of UGT1A3 in the duodenum was significantly downregulated. The reduction in faecal enzymatic activity, observed during and after antibiotic administration, did not alter the ex vivo metabolism of olanzapine or risperidone. The relative abundance of Alistipes significantly correlated with the AUC of olanzapine but not risperidone. Interpretation: Alistipes may play a role in the observed alterations in olanzapine pharmacokinetics. The gut microbiome might be an important variable determining the systemic bioavailability of orally administered olanzapine. Additional research exploring the potential implication of the gut microbiota on the clinical pharmacokinetics of olanzapine in humans is warranted.
    • Cow- and herd-level risk factors for lameness in partly housed pasture-based dairy cows

      Browne, N.; Hudson, C.D.; Crossley, R.E.; Sugrue, K; Kennedy, E.; Huxley, J.N.; Conneely, Muireann; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship (Elsevier, 2021-10-02)
      Lameness in dairy cows is a major animal welfare concern and has substantial economic impact through reduced production and fertility. Previous risk factor analyses have focused on housed systems, rather than those where cows were grazed for the majority of the year and housed only for the winter period. Therefore, the aim of this observational study was to identify a robust set of cow-level and herd-level risk factors for lameness in a pasture-based system, based on predictors from the housing and grazing periods. Ninety-nine farms were visited during the grazing period (April 2019–September 2019), and 85 farms were revisited during the housing period (October 2019–February 2020). At each visit, all lactating cows were scored for lameness (0 = good mobility, 1 = imperfect mobility, 2 = impaired mobility, 3 = severely impaired mobility), and potential herd-level risk factors were recorded through questionnaires and infrastructure measurements. Routine cow-level management data were also collected. Important risk factors for lameness were derived though triangulation of results from elastic net regression, and from logistic regression model selection using modified Bayesian information criterion. Both selection methods were implemented using bootstrapping. This novel approach has not previously been used in a cow-level or herd-level risk factor analysis in dairy cows, to the authors' knowledge. The binary outcome variable was lameness status, whereby cows with a lameness score of 0 or 1 were classed as non-lame and cows with a score of 2 or 3 were classed as lame. Cow-level risk factors for increased lameness prevalence were age and genetic predicted transmitting ability for lameness. Herd-level risk factors included farm and herd size, stones in paddock gateways, slats on cow tracks near the collecting yard, a sharper turn at the parlor exit, presence of digital dermatitis on the farm, and the farmers' perception of whether lameness was a problem on the farm. This large-scale study identified the most important associations between risk factors and lameness, based on the entire year (grazing and housing periods), providing a focus for future randomized clinical trials.
    • Effect of feeding single-dam or pooled colostrum on maternally derived immunity in dairy calves

      Barry, J.; Bokkers, E.A.M.; Sayers, Riona; Murphy, J.P.; de Boer, I.J.M.; Kennedy, E.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship (Elsevier, 2021-08-26)
      The role of colostrum management in providing adequate immunological protection to neonatal calves has been widely investigated, and thresholds for colostrum quality, as well as optimum volume and timing for colostrum feeding have been established. However, limited information is available on the effect of colostrum source (single dam or pooled) on passive immunity, as well as subsequent antibody survival in the calf. This study aimed to assess the effect of feeding single-dam colostrum (own and other dam) or pooled colostrum on transfer of passive immunity, and also investigate the rate of depletion of disease-specific antibodies among dairy calves. In total, 320 cows and 119 dairy heifer calves were enrolled in the study. Calves were blood-sampled immediately after birth and received either own-dam, other-dam, or pooled colostrum. Calves were blood-sampled at 24 h to assess serum IgG concentrations and at monthly intervals thereafter to document disease-specific antibody survival. Mean colostrum IgG concentration was higher for other-dam treatment group, whereas own-dam and pooled treatments were similar. For all treatment groups, the mean IgG concentration was >80 mg/mL, exceeding the quality threshold of 50 mg/mL. Mean calf serum IgG concentration was lower for calves fed pooled colostrum compared with those that received colostrum from a single cow. There was a negative association with 24-h serum IgG and calf birth bodyweight; calves <30 kg at birth had the highest 24-h serum IgG concentration. Survival of antibodies to bovine viral diarrhea, Salmonella infection, leptospirosis, bovine parainfluenza 3 virus, bovine respiratory syncytical virus, rotavirus, and coronavirus was not associated with colostrum source; however, antibodies to infectious bovine rhinotracheitis had a greater period of survival among calves fed own-dam colostrum. We found that feeding single-dam colostrum can thus improve calf immunity through increased serum IgG levels and antibody survival rates. Furthermore, we hypothesize that immune exclusion may occur with pooled colostrum; therefore, providing pooled colostrum may still be a good practice as long as it can be ensured that enough antibodies are absorbed into the blood stream to deal with pathogens calves may encounter because different dams may have antibodies against different strains of viruses and bacteria, yielding cross protection.
    • Shared and non-shared sIgA-coated and uncoated bacteria in intestine of mother-infant pairs

      Ding, Mengfan; Chen, Haiqin; Yu, Renqiang; Ross, R. Paul; STANTON, CATHERINE; Zhang, Hao; Yang, Bo; Chen, Wei; National Key R&D Program of China; National Natural Science Foundation of China; et al. (Research Square Platform LLC, 2022-04-20)
      Background The infant gut microbiota is critical for promoting and maintaining early life health. Bacteria coated by secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) may help commensal bacteria colonize the gastrointestinal tract. The study aimed to analyze the composition of sIgA-coated and sIgA-uncoated bacterial communities at genus level, and lactobacilli and bifidobacterial communities at species level in human breast milk (HBM), infant, and maternal feces. Results Eleven pregnant women were recruited successfully. HBM, infant feces during colostrum, transition, and mature stages, and maternal feces within the mature stage were collected. sIgA-coated and sIgAuncoated bacteria were separated with magnetic-activated cell sorting. Then 16S rRNA sequencing, bifidobacterial groEL gene sequencing, and lactobacilli groEL gene sequencing were performed to analyze the bacterial community. The richness of sIgA-coated bacteria was significantly higher than that of sIgA-uncoated bacteria in HBM. PCoA revealed that the compositions of sIgA-coated and sIgAuncoated bacteria were different among HBM, infant and maternal feces. The dominant sIgA-coated bacteria in those samples were Escherichia/shigella and the dominant sIgA-uncoated bacteria was Pseudomonas. Higher relative abundance of sIgA-uncoated Bifidobacterium was found in the three lactation stages in infant feces compared to the corresponding HBM, and a higher relative abundance of sIgA-uncoated Faecalibacterium was found in maternal feces compared to HBM and infant feces. For the bifidobacterial community, PCoA analysis revealed a significantly different Bifidobacterium composition only in the sIgA-uncoated segments of infant feces and maternal feces. sIgA-coated and sIgA-uncoated B. longum subsp. infantis and B. pseudocatenulatum was dominant in infant feces and maternal feces, respectively. Additionally, the relative abundance of sIgA-uncoated B. longum subsp. infantis was significantly higher in infant feces compared to that in maternal feces. For the Lactobacillus community, the composition was significantly different in infant and maternal feces, while at species level, L. paragasseri and L. mucosae were dominant in infant and maternal feces, respectively. Conclusion HBM, infant, and maternal feces showed distinct diversity and composition of both sIgA-coated and sIgAuncoated bacteria at genus level. Infant and maternal feces showed similar diversity and similar composition of Bifidobacterium at species level. The same Bifidobacterium species could be detected both in sIgA-coated and sIgA-uncoated form
    • Bifidobacterium longum counters the effects of obesity: Partial successful translation from rodent to human

      Schellekens, Harriët; Torres-Fuentes, Cristina; van de Wouw, Marcel; Long-Smith, Caitriona M.; Mitchell, Avery; Strain, Conall; Berding, Kirsten; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz, F. S.; Rea, Kieran; Golubeva, Anna V.; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-01-31)
      BackgroundThe human gut microbiota has emerged as a key factor in the development of obesity. Certain probiotic strains have shown anti-obesity effects. The objective of this study was to investigate whether Bifidobacterium longum APC1472 has anti-obesity effects in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice and whether B. longum APC1472 supplementation reduces body-mass index (BMI) in healthy overweight/obese individuals as the primary outcome. B. longum APC1472 effects on waist-to-hip ratio (W/H ratio) and on obesity-associated plasma biomarkers were analysed as secondary outcomes. MethodsB. longum APC1472 was administered to HFD-fed C57BL/6 mice in drinking water for 16 weeks. In the human intervention trial, participants received B. longum APC1472 or placebo supplementation for 12 weeks, during which primary and secondary outcomes were measured at the beginning and end of the intervention. FindingsB. longum APC1472 supplementation was associated with decreased bodyweight, fat depots accumulation and increased glucose tolerance in HFD-fed mice. While, in healthy overweight/obese adults, the supplementation of B. longum APC1472 strain did not change primary outcomes of BMI (0.03, 95% CI [-0.4, 0.3]) or W/H ratio (0.003, 95% CI [-0.01, 0.01]), a positive effect on the secondary outcome of fasting blood glucose levels was found (-0.299, 95% CI [-0.44, -0.09]). InterpretationThis study shows a positive translational effect of B. longum APC1472 on fasting blood glucose from a preclinical mouse model of obesity to a human intervention study in otherwise healthy overweight and obese individuals. This highlights the promising potential of B. longum APC1472 to be developed as a valuable supplement in reducing specific markers of obesity. FundingThis research was funded in part by Science Foundation Ireland in the form of a Research Centre grant (SFI/12/RC/2273) to APC Microbiome Ireland and by a research grant from Cremo S.A.
    • Comparison of lactose free and traditional mozzarella cheese during shelf-life by aroma compounds and sensory analysis

      Condurso, Concetta; Tripodi, Gianluca; Merlino, Maria; Prestia, Ottavia; STANTON, CATHERINE; Verzera, Antonella; Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research; AIM 1823923-3 - CUP J44I18000190006 (Elsevier, 2021-04-30)
      Aroma compounds and sensory features of lactose free (LFM) and traditional (TM) Mozzarella cheese have been investigated during their labeled shelf-life. Acetoin and 2-heptanone characterized both types of cheese at the production time. During the shelf-life, a statistically significant increase in the amount of the volatiles coming from amino acid and fatty acid metabolism occurred in the LFM samples after 8 days of storage and, to a lesser extent, in TM cheese after 13 days of storage. As regard sensory analysis, milk odor and milk flavor descriptors characterized TM and LFM in the early stage of their shelf-life; bitter and acid taste and yoghurt odor descriptors characterized LFM after 8 days and TM after 13 days. The differences between the two cheese types can be attributed to the proteolytic activity of the lactase enzyme. As a result, the volatile aroma profile and the sensory quality should be taken into account for a proper shelf-life definition of Mozzarella cheese and a shorter shelf-life should be suggested for LFM than TM cheese.
    • Financial benchmarking on dairy farms: Exploring the relationship between frequency of use and farm performance

      Ramsbottom, George; Läpple, D.; Pierce, K. M. (Elsevier, 2021-03-31)
      The importance of financial benchmarking has increased in recent years as European Union milk quota abolition has facilitated rapid change in the dairy sector. This study evaluates the association between usage frequency of a financial benchmarking tool [Profit Monitor (PM)] and farm changes on spring-calving pasture-based dairy farms. To this end, physical and financial data for 5,945 dairy farms, representing 20,132 farm years, for the years 2010 to 2018 were used. Farms were categorized by frequency of annual financial benchmarking over the 9-yr period into frequent PM users (7–9 yr), infrequent PM users (4–6 yr), low PM users (1–3 yr), and nonusers. We use a mixed model framework and econometric models to characterize farms and to explore characteristics and determinants of economic performance and user groups. The most frequent users of the financial benchmarking tool had the greatest increase in intensification (measured by change in farm stocking rate), productivity (measured by change in milk production per hectare), and financial performance (measured by change in farm gross output and net profit per hectare) across the study period. Infrequent and low PM users of the benchmarking tool were intermediate for all variables measured, whereas nonusers had the least change. Empirical results indicated that economic performance was positively associated with dairy specialization and pasture utilization for all groups. Despite considerable fluctuations over the observation period, the overall change in total farm net profit between 2010 and 2018 was greatest for the frequent PM users (an increase of 70%, or €37,639), followed by farms in the infrequent PM user category (a 71% increase corresponding to an increase of €28,008 in net profit); meanwhile, low PM user and nonuser categories showed increases of 69% (€26,270) and 42% (€10,977), respectively. The results of this study also clearly indicated the existence of a strong positive association between frequency of financial benchmarking and greater technical and financial efficiency. The econometric analysis revealed that financial benchmarking users are more likely than nonusers to have larger herds, and that regional differences exist in usage rates. Finally, the study concludes by suggesting that the development of simplified financial benchmarking technologies and their support are required to increase benchmarking frequency, which may also help to facilitate a more sustainable and resource efficient dairy industry.
    • Assessing the ability of nisin A and derivatives thereof to inhibit gram-negative bacteria from the genus Thermus

      Jonnala, Bhagya R. Yeluri; Feehily, Conor; O'Connor, Paula M.; Field, Des; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; McSweeney, P.L.H.; Sheehan, Diarmuid (JJ); Cotter, Paul D; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-03-31)
      Nisin is a bacteriocin that is globally employed as a biopreservative in food systems to control gram-positive, and some gram-negative, bacteria. Here we tested the bioactivity of nisin A-producing Lactococcus lactis NZ9700 and producers of bioengineered variants thereof against representatives of the gram-negative genus Thermus, which has been associated with the pink discoloration defect in cheese. Starting with a total of 73 nisin variant-producing Lactococcus lactis, bioactivity against Thermus was assessed via agar diffusion assays, and 22 variants were found to have bioactivity greater than or equal to that of the nisin A-producing control. To determine to what extent this enhanced bioactivity was attributable to an increase in specific activity, minimum inhibitory concentrations were determined using the corresponding purified form of these 22 nisin A derivatives. From these experiments, nisin M17Q and M21F were identified as peptides with enhanced antimicrobial activity against the majority of Thermus target strains tested. In addition, several other peptide variants were found to exhibit enhanced specific activity against a subset of strains.
    • Improvements in sleep indices during exam stress due to consumption of a Bifidobacterium longum

      Moloney, Gerard M.; Long-Smith, Caitriona M.; Murphy, Amy; Dorland, Danielle; Hojabri, Sara Firuzeh; Ramirez, Loreto Olavarría; Marin, David Campos; Bastiaanssen, Thomaz, F. S.; Cusack, Anne-Marie; Berding, Kirsten; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-01-31)
      Targeting the gut microbiome as an effective therapeutic strategy for psychological disorders has shown promise in recent years. Variation in the composition of the microbiota and restoration of a stable microbiome using targeted interventions (psychobiotics) including Bifidobacteria have shown promise in pre-clinical studies, but more human data is required on the potential health benefits of these live microorganisms. Bifidobacterium including Bif. longum 1714 has been shown to dampen the effects of acute stress in humans. However, its effects over a period of prolonged stress have not been examined. A randomised, placebo-controlled, repeated measures, cross-over intervention study was conducted to examine the effects of a probiotic intervention on measures of stress, cognitive performance, and mood in healthy human volunteers. Twenty male students participated in this crossover study. Post-intervention assessments took place during the university exam period, which was used as a naturalistic chronic stressor. Self-reported measures of stress, depression, sleep quality, physical activity, gastrointestinal symptoms, cognition, and mood were assessed by questionnaire. In addition, tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) were administered to all participants. Stress and depression scores increased in both placebo and probiotic treated groups during the exam period. While overall sleep quality and duration of sleep improved significantly in the probiotic treated group during exam stress compared with the placebo treated group, B. longum 1714, similar to placebo treatment, showed no efficacy in improving measures of working memory, visual memory, sustained attention or perception. Overall, while B. longum 1714 shows promise in improving sleep quality and duration, it did not alleviate symptoms of chronic stress, depression, or any measure of cognitive assessment. Thus, further mechanistic studies into the ability of B. longum 1714 to modulate sleep during prolonged periods of stress are now warranted.
    • Identification of functional candidate variants and genes for feed efficiency in Holstein and Jersey cattle breeds using RNA-sequencing

      Lam, S.; Miglior, F.; Fonseca, P.A.S.; Gómez-Redondo, I.; Zeidan, J.; Suárez-Vega, A.; Schenkel, F.; Guan, L.L.; Waters, Sinéad M; Stothard, P.; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-02-28)
      The identification of functional genetic variants and associated candidate genes linked to feed efficiency may help improve selection for feed efficiency in dairy cattle, providing economic and environmental benefits for the dairy industry. This study used RNA-sequencing data obtained from liver tissue from 9 Holstein cows [n = 5 low residual feed intake (RFI), n = 4 high RFI] and 10 Jersey cows (n = 5 low RFI, n = 5 high RFI), which were selected from a single population of 200 animals. Using RNA-sequencing, 3 analyses were performed to identify: (1) variants within low or high RFI Holstein cattle; (2) variants within low or high RFI Jersey cattle; and (3) variants within low or high RFI groups, which are common across both Holstein and Jersey cattle breeds. From each analysis, all variants were filtered for moderate, modifier, or high functional effect, and co-localized quantitative trait loci (QTL) classes, enriched biological processes, and co-localized genes related to these variants, were identified. The overlapping of the resulting genes co-localized with functional SNP from each analysis in both breeds for low or high RFI groups were compared. For the first two analyses, the total number of candidate genes associated with moderate, modifier, or high functional effect variants fixed within low or high RFI groups were 2,810 and 3,390 for Holstein and Jersey breeds, respectively. The major QTL classes co-localized with these variants included milk and reproduction QTL for the Holstein breed, and milk, production, and reproduction QTL for the Jersey breed. For the third analysis, the common variants across both Holstein and Jersey breeds, uniquely fixed within low or high RFI groups were identified, revealing a total of 86,209 and 111,126 functional variants in low and high RFI groups, respectively. Across all 3 analyses for low and high RFI cattle, 12 and 31 co-localized genes were overlapping, respectively. Among the overlapping genes across breeds, 9 were commonly detected in both the low and high RFI groups (INSRR, CSK, DYNC1H1, GAB1, KAT2B, RXRA, SHC1, TRRAP, PIK3CB), which are known to play a key role in the regulation of biological processes that have high metabolic demand and are related to cell growth and regeneration, metabolism, and immune function. The genes identified and their associated functional variants may serve as candidate genetic markers and can be implemented into breeding programs to help improve the selection for feed efficiency in dairy cattle.
    • Formulation of a decision support tool incorporating both genetic and non-genetic effects to rank young growing cattle on expected market value

      Dunne, F. L.; Evans, R. D.; Kelleher, M.M.; Walsh, S. W.; Berry, Donagh; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; European Union; 16/RC/3835; 679GenTORE (727213) (Elsevier, 2021-02-28)
      While breeding indexes exist globally to identify candidate parents of the next generation, fewer tools exist that provide guidance on the expected monetary value of young animals. The objective of the present study was therefore to develop the framework for a cattle decision-support tool which incorporates both the genetic and non-genetic information of an animal and, in doing so, better predict the potential market value of an animal, whatever the age. Two novel monetary indexes were constructed and their predictive ability of carcass value was compared to that of the Irish national Terminal breeding index, typical of other terminal indexes used globally. A constructed Harvest index was composed of three carcass-related traits [i.e., 1) carcass weight, 2) carcass conformation and 3) carcass fat, each weighted by their respective economic value] and aimed at purchasers of animals close to harvest; the second index, termed the Calf index, also included docility and feed intake (weighted by their respective economic value), thus targeting purchasers of younger calves for growing (and eventually harvesting). Genetic and non-genetic fixed and random effect model solutions from the Irish national genetic evaluations underpinned all indexes. The two novel indexes were formulated using three alternative estimates of an animal's total merit for comparative purposes: 1) an index based solely on the animal's breed solutions, 2) an index which also included within-breed animal differences, and 3) an index which, as well as considering additive and non-additive genetic effects, also included non-genetic effects (referred to as production values [PVs]). As more information (i.e., within breed effects and subsequently non-genetic effects) was included in the total merit estimate, the correlations strengthened between the two proposed indexes and the animal's calculated carcass market value; the correlation coefficients almost doubled in strength when total merit was based on PV-based estimates as compared to the breed solutions alone. Including phenotypic live-weight data, collected during the animal's life, strengthened the predictive ability of the indexes further. Based on the results presented, the proposed indexes may fill the void in decision support when purchasing or selling cattle. In addition, given the dynamic nature of indexes, they have the potential to be updated in real-time as information becomes available.
    • Milk production per cow and per hectare of spring-calving dairy cows grazing swards differing in Lolium perenne L. ploidy and Trifolium repens L. composition

      Gilliland, T.J.; Delaby, L.; Guy, C.; Dineen, M.; Coughlan, F.; McCarthy, B.; Irish Dairy Levy; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme (Elsevier, 2019-09-30)
      Grazed grass is the cheapest feed available for dairy cows in temperate regions; thus, to maximize profits, dairy farmers must optimize the use of this high-quality feed. Previous research has defined the benefits of including white clover (Trifolium repens L.) in grass swards for milk production, usually at reduced nitrogen usage and stocking rate. The aim of this study was to quantify the responses in milk production of dairy cows grazing tetraploid or diploid perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.; PRG) sown with and without white clover but without reducing stocking rate or nitrogen usage. We compared 4 grazing treatments in this study: tetraploid PRG-only swards, diploid PRG-only swards, tetraploid with white clover swards, and diploid with white clover swards. Thirty cows were assigned to each treatment, and swards were rotationally grazed at a farm-level stocking rate of 2.75 cows/ha and a nitrogen fertilizer rate of 250 kg/ha annually. Sward white clover content was 23.6 and 22.6% for tetraploid with white clover swards and diploid with white clover swards, respectively. Milk production did not differ between the 2 ploidies during this 4-yr study, but cows grazing the PRG-white clover treatments had significantly greater milk yields (+596 kg/cow per year) and milk solid yields (+48 kg/cow per year) compared with cows grazing the PRG-only treatments. The PRG-white clover swards also produced 1,205 kg of DM/ha per year more herbage, which was available for conserving and buffer feeding in spring when these swards were less productive than PRG-only swards. Although white clover is generally combined with reduced nitrogen fertilizer use, this study provides evidence that including white clover in either tetraploid or diploid PRG swards, combined with high levels of nitrogen fertilizer, can effectively increase milk production per cow and per hectare.
    • Influence of particle size on the physicochemical properties and stickiness of dairy powders

      Haque, Md Kamrul; Kennedy, Deirdre; Laffir, Fathima R.; Hogan, Sean; O'Mahony, James A.; Murphy, Eoin G.; Enterprise Ireland; TC/2014/0016 (Elsevier, 2019-11-30)
      The compositional and physicochemical properties of different whey permeate (WPP), demineralised whey (DWP) and skim milk powder (SMP) size fractions were investigated. Bulk composition of WPP and DWP was significantly (P < 0.05) influenced by powder particle size; smaller particles had higher protein and lower lactose contents. Microscopic observations showed that WPP and DWP contained both larger lactose crystals and smaller amorphous particles. Bulk composition of SMP did not vary with particle size. Surface composition of the smallest SMP fraction (<75 μm) showed significantly lower protein (−9%) and higher fat (+5%) coverage compared with non-fractionated powders. For all powders, smaller particles were more susceptible to sticking. Hygroscopicity of SMP was not affected by particle size; hygroscopicity of semi-crystalline powders was inversely related to particle size. This study provides insights into differences between size fractions of dairy powders, which can potentially impact the sticking/caking behaviour of fine particles during processing.