Now showing items 1-20 of 2693

    • 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.
    • Fate of beta-glucan, polyphenols and lipophilic compounds in baked crackers fortified with different barley-milled fractions

      O'Shea, Norah; Brunton, Nigel P.; Gallagher, Eimear; Harrison, Sabine M.; Rai, Dilip; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; FIRM 11/SF/317 (Elsevier, 2019-11-30)
      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 teatcup removal settings on milking efficiency and milk quality in a pasture-based automatic milking system

      Reinemann, D.J.; Upton, John; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme; University of Wisconsin–Madison; Lely (Elsevier, 2019-09-30)
      In automatic milking systems (AMS), it is important to maximize the amount of milk harvested per day to increase profitability. One strategy to achieve this goal is to reduce the time it takes to milk each cow. Several studies in conventional milking systems have shown that milking time can be reduced by increasing the milk flow rate at which the teatcup is removed. One study analyzed the effect of increasing the milk flow switch point on milking time in a confinement AMS. No research has been conducted on teatcup removal settings in pasture-based automatic milking systems. Furthermore, not all AMS remove the teatcups based on absolute milk flow rate (kg/min); hence, it is important to study alternative strategies. The aim of this experiment was to measure the effect of 3 novel teatcup removal strategies on box time (time in the AMS), milking time, somatic cell count (SCC), and milk production rate of cows milked in a pasture-based automatic milking system. Each teatcup removal strategy in this study was applied for a period of 1 wk to 1 of 3 groups of cows and then switched to the following group until cows had transitioned through all treatments. The teatcup removal strategies consisted of removing the teatcup when the quarter flow rate fell below 20% of the quarter rolling average milk flow rate (TRS20), when quarter milk flow rate was below 30% of the rolling average milk flow rate (TRS30), and when quarter milk flow rate dropped below 50% of the rolling average milk flow rate (TRS50). A limit prevented teatcup removal if the calculated milk flow rate for teatcup removal was above 0.5 kg/min. This limit was in place for all treatments; however, it only affected the TRS50 treatment. The TRS30 strategy had 9-s shorter milking time and 11-s shorter box time than the TRS20 removal strategy. The TRS50 strategy had 8-s shorter milking time and 9-s shorter box time than the TRS20 teatcup removal strategy. There was no significant difference in milking time or box time between the TRS30 and TRS50 teatcup removal strategies, probably due to the large variability in milk flow rate at teatcup removal. The TRS20 and TRS30 strategies did not differ in SCC or milk production rate. The 0.5 kg/min limit, which affected roughly 25% of milkings in the TRS50 treatment, may have distorted the effect that this setting had on milk time, box time, milk production rate, or SCC. The difference in box time for the TRS30 and TRS50 strategies could allow for more than 3 extra milkings per day.
    • Associating cow characteristics with mobility scores in pasture-based dairy cows

      Bokkers, E.A.M.; de Boer, I.J.M.; Hogeveen, H.; Sayers, Riona; Byrne, N.; Ruelle, Elodie; Shalloo, Laurence; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14 S 801 (Elsevier, 2019-09-30)
      The quality of dairy cow mobility can have significant welfare, economic, and environmental consequences that have yet to be extensively quantified for pasture-based systems. The objective of this study was to characterize mobility quality by examining associations between specific mobility scores, claw disorders (both the type and severity), body condition score (BCS), and cow parity. Data were collected for 6,927 cows from 52 pasture-based dairy herds, including mobility score (0 = optimal mobility; 1, 2, or 3 = increasing severities of suboptimal mobility), claw disorder type and severity, BCS, and cow parity. Multinomial logistic regression was used for analysis. The outcome variable was mobility score, and the predictor variables were BCS, type and severity of claw disorders, and cow parity. Three models were run, each with 1 reference category (mobility score 0, 1, or 2). Each model also included claw disorders (overgrown claw, sole hemorrhage, white line disease, sole ulcer, and digital dermatitis), BCS, and cow parity as predictor variables. The presence of most types of claw disorders had odds ratios >1, indicating an increased likelihood of a cow having suboptimal mobility. Low BCS (BCS <3.00) was associated with an increased risk of a cow having suboptimal mobility, and relatively higher parity was also associated with an increased risk of suboptimal mobility. These results confirm an association between claw disorders, BCS, cow parity, and dairy cow mobility score. Therefore, mobility score should be routinely practiced to identify cows with slight deviations from the optimal mobility pattern and to take preventive measures to keep the problem from worsening.
    • Using a multi-dimensional approach for catchment scale herbicide pollution assessments.

      Khan, Majid Ali; Costa, Fabiola Barros; Fenton, Owen; Jordan, Phil; Fennell, Chris; Mellander, Per-Erik; European Union; 727450 (Elsevier, 2020-07-25)
      Worldwide herbicide use in agriculture, whilst safeguarding yields also presents water quality issues. Controlling factors in agricultural catchments include both static and dynamic parameters. The present study investigated the occurrence of herbicides in streams and groundwater in two meso-scale catchments with contrasting flow controls and agricultural landuse (grassland and arable land). Using a multi-dimensional approach, streams were monitored from November 2018 to November 2019 using Chemcatcher® passive sampling devices and groundwater was sampled in 95 private drinking water wells. The concentrations of herbicides were larger in the stream of the Grassland catchment (8.9-472.6 ng L-1) dominated by poorly drained soils than in the Arable catchment (0.9-169.1 ng L-1) dominated by well-drained soils. Incidental losses of herbicides during time of application and low flows in summer caused concentrations of MCPA, Fluroxypyr, Trichlorpyr, Clopyralid and Mecoprop to exceeded the European Union (EU) drinking water standard due to a lack of dilution. Herbicides were present in the stream throughout the year and the total mass load was higher in winter flows, suggesting a persistence of primary chemical residues in soil and sub-surface environments and restricted degradation. Losses of herbicides to the streams were source limited and influenced by hydrological conditions. Herbicides were detected in 38% of surveyed drinking water wells. While most areas had concentrations below the EU drinking water standard some areas with well-drained soils in the Grassland catchment, had concentrations exceeding recommendations. Individual wells had concentrations of Clopyralid (619 ng L-1) and Trichlorpyr (650 ng L-1). Despite the study areas not usually associated with herbicide pollution, and annual mass loads being comparatively low, many herbicides were present in both surface and groundwater, sometimes above the recommendations for drinking water. This whole catchment assessment provides a basis to develop collaborative measures to mitigate pollution of water by herbicides.
    • Solubility of carbon dioxide in renneted casein matrices: Effect of pH, salt, temperature, partial pressure, and moisture to protein ratio

      Lamichhane, Prabin; Sharma, Prateek; Kelly, Alan L.; Risbo, Jens; Rattray, Fergal P.; Sheehan, Diarmuid (JJ); Dairy Levy Trust Fund; Ornua; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme; RMIS 6259 (Elsevier BV, 2021-01)
      The solubility of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the moisture and protein components of cheese matrices and the influence of changing pH, salt and temperature levels remains unclear. In this study, model casein matrices were prepared, by renneting of micellar casein concentrate (MCC), with modulation of salt and pH levels by adding salt and glucono delta-lactone, respectively, to the MCC solutions prior to renneting. Different moisture-to-protein levels were achieved by freeze-drying, incubation of samples at different relative humidities, or by applying varying pressures during gel manufacture. The CO2 solubility of samples decreased linearly with both increasing temperature and salt-in-moisture content, whereas solubility of CO2 increased with increasing pH. A non-linear relationship was observed between CO2 solubility and the moisture-to-protein ratio of experimental samples. Overall, such knowledge may be applied to improve the quality and consistency of eye-type cheese, and in particular to avoid development of undesirable slits and cracks.
    • Exposure of Agaricus bisporus to Trichoderma aggressivum f. europaeum leads to growth inhibition and induction of an oxidative stress response

      Kosanovic, Dejana; Grogan, Helen; Kavanagh, Kevin; Irish Research Council; GOIPD/2018/115 (Elsevier BV, 2020-09)
      Green mould disease of mushroom, Agaricus bisporus,is caused by Trichodermaspecies and can result in substantial crop losses.Label free proteomic analysis of changes in the abundance of A. bisporusproteins following exposure to T. aggressivumsupernatantin vitroindicated increased abundance of proteins associated with an oxidative stress response (zinc ion binding (+6.6 fold); peroxidase activity (5.3-fold); carboxylic ester hydrolase (+2.4 fold); dipeptidase (+3.2 fold); [2Fe-2S] cluster assembly (+3.3 fold)). Proteins that decreased in relative abundance were associated with growth: structural constituent of ribosome, translation (-12 fold), deadenylation-dependent decapping of nuclear-transcribed mRNA (-3.4 fold), and small GTPase mediated signal transduction (-2.6 fold). In vivoanalysis revealed that 10-4 T. aggressivuminoculum decreased the mushroom yield by 29% to 56% and 10-3 T. aggressivuminoculum decreased the mushroom yield by 68% to 100%. Proteins that increased in abundance in A. bisporusin vivofollowing exposure to T. aggressivumindicated an oxidative stress response and included proteins with pyruvate kinase activity (+2.6 fold) and hydrolase activity (+2.1 fold)). The results indicate that exposure of A. bisporusmycelium to T. aggressivum in vitroand in vivoresulted in an oxidative stress response and reduction in growth.
    • An investigation of anticoccidial veterinary drugs as emerging organic contaminants in groundwater

      Mooney, D.; Richards, K.G.; Danaher, M.; Grant, J.; Gill, L.; Mellander, P.-E.; Coxon, C.E.; Science Foundation Ireland; European Regional Development Fund; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-12)
      Intensification of the food production system to meet increased global demand for food has led to veterinary pharmaceuticals becoming a critical component in animal husbandry. Anticoccidials are a group of veterinary products used to control coccidiosis in food-producing animals, with primary prophylactic use in poultry production. Excretion in manure and subsequent land-spreading provides a potential pathway to groundwater. Information on the fate and occurrence of these compounds in groundwater is scant, therefore these substances are potential emerging organic contaminants of concern. A study was carried out to investigate the occurrence of anticoccidial compounds in groundwater throughout the Republic of Ireland. Twenty-six anticoccidials (6 ionophores and 20 synthetic anticoccidials) were analysed at 109 sites (63 boreholes and 46 springs) during November and December 2018. Sites were categorised and selected based on the following source and pathway factors: (a) the presence/absence of poultry activity (b) predominant aquifer category and (c) predominant groundwater vulnerability, within the zone of contribution (ZOC) for each site. Seven anticoccidials, including four ionophores (lasalocid, monensin, narasin and salinomycin) and three synthetic anticoccidials (amprolium, diclazuril and nicarbazin), were detected at 24% of sites at concentrations ranging from 1 to 386 ng L−1. Monensin and amprolium were the two most frequently detected compounds, detected at 15% and 7% of sites, respectively. Multivariate statistical analysis has shown that source factors are the most significant drivers of the occurrence of anticoccidials, with no definitive relationships between occurrence and pathway factors. The study found that the detection of anticoccidial compounds is 6.5 times more likely when poultry activity is present within the ZOC of a sampling point, compared to the absence of poultry activity. This work presents the first detections of these contaminants in Irish groundwater and it contributes to broadening our understanding of the environmental occurrence and fate of anticoccidial veterinary products.
    • Blood and faecal biomarkers to assess dietary energy, protein and amino acid efficiency of utilization by growing and finishing pigs

      Camp Montoro, Jordi; Solà-Oriol, David; Muns, Ramon; Gasa, Josep; Llanes, Núria; Manzanilla, Edgar G.; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Scheme; 0415 (Biomed Central, 2022-07-04)
      Background Diet evaluation and optimization is a slow and expensive process and it is not possible to do it at a farm level. This study aimed to use the blood serum metabolite (BSM) and faecal volatile fatty acid (VFA) profiles as potential biomarkers to identify changes in protein, amino acid and energy dietary content in growing and finishing pig diets at farm level. Results Two studies were conducted. The first study (S1) included 20 pens of 11 pigs (87.0 ± 4.10 kg; 18 weeks old) assigned to 5 diets: control (C1), high or low crude protein (HP1 and LP1, respectively), and high or low net energy (HE1 and LE1, respectively). The second study (S2) included 28 pens of 11 pigs (41.3 ± 2.60 kg; 12 weeks old) assigned to 7 diets: control (C2), high or low crude protein (HP2 and LP2, respectively), high or low amino acid (HA2 and LA2, respectively), and high or low net energy (HE2 and LE2, respectively). Pigs were followed for 10 (S1) and 20 (S2) days, and blood and faecal samples were collected at 20 (S1) and 14 (S2) weeks of age. Data were analysed using general linear models and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Urea nitrogen showed the best results as a biomarker. Urea nitrogen was higher in pigs fed high protein diets, HP1 (13.6 ± 0.95 mg/dL) and HP2 (11.6 ± 0.61), compared to those fed low protein diets, LP1 (6.0 ± 0.95) and LP2 (5.2 ± 0.61; P < 0.001), showing good discrimination ability (Area under the curve (AUC) = 98.4 and 100%, respectively). These differences were not observed between diets LA2 (6.5 ± 0.61) and HA2 (8.7 ± 0.61; P > 0.05; AUC = 71.9%), which were formulated based on the ideal protein profile but with no excess of protein. Creatinine, triglycerides, branched-chain fatty acids, albumin, propionic acid, and cholesterol showed differences between at least 2 diets but only in one of the studies. Conclusions Urea nitrogen showed high accuracy to detect excess of crude protein in growing and finishing pig diets. Other biomarkers like BCFA showed promising results and need to be further studied.
    • Modelling transmission of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis between Irish dairy cattle herds

      Biemans, Floor; Tratalos, Jamie; Arnoux, Sandie; Ramsbottom, George; More, Simon J.; Ezanno, Pauline; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; NexusMAP (Biomed Central, 2022-06-22)
      Bovine paratuberculosis is an endemic disease caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (Map). Map is mainly transmitted between herds through movement of infected but undetected animals. Our objective was to investigate the effect of observed herd characteristics on Map spread on a national scale in Ireland. Herd characteristics included herd size, number of breeding bulls introduced, number of animals purchased and sold, and number of herds the focal herd purchases from and sells to. We used these characteristics to classify herds in accordance with their probability of becoming infected and of spreading infection to other herds. A stochastic individual-based model was used to represent herd demography and Map infection dynamics of each dairy cattle herd in Ireland. Data on herd size and composition, as well as birth, death, and culling events were used to characterize herd demography. Herds were connected with each other through observed animal trade movements. Data consisted of 13 353 herds, with 4 494 768 dairy female animals, and 72 991 breeding bulls. We showed that the probability of an infected animal being introduced into the herd increases both with an increasing number of animals that enter a herd via trade and number of herds from which animals are sourced. Herds that both buy and sell a lot of animals pose the highest infection risk to other herds and could therefore play an important role in Map spread between herds.
    • An index framework founded on the future profit potential of female beef cattle to aid the identification of candidates for culling

      Dunne, Fíona L; Berry, Donagh; Kelleher, Margaret M; Evans, Ross D; Walsh, Siobhan W; Amer, Peter R; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; European Union; 16/RC/3835; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-10-13)
      Meticulous culling decisions, coupled with careful breeding decisions, are fundamental to shifting a population distribution in the favorable direction and improving profit per cow. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of easy-to-use dynamic tools to aid in culling decisions in beef cattle. The motivation for the present study was to develop a monetary-based culling tool, here referred to as the Beef Female’s Profit Potential (BFPP), to identify females for culling. The BFPP reflects the expected lifetime profitability of an individual female in a herd for the expected remainder of her lifetime; this profit included that of the beef female herself as well as her progeny. The BFPP index framework was composed of 4 subindexes reflecting the value of an animal: (1) as a nulliparae (this was voided if the cow had already calved), (2) for the remainder of her current parity, (3) summed across each of her expected remaining parities, and (4) when she is retained within the herd and not voluntarily culled. Each subindex was comprised of different components reflecting both genetic and non-genetic effects associated with each female. Transition matrices predicting the expected longevity of each female and their expected month of calving were also utilized in calculating the expected remaining lifetime profitability of each female. The BFPP index was validated on 21,102 beef cows as well as their harvested progeny from 875 herds by stratifying the cows, within herd, into 4 strata based on their BFPP. The mean of the within-herd correlation between the BFPP and the Irish national replacement (i.e., breeding) index was, on average, 0.45 indicating the shortcomings of the breeding index as a culling tool. Cows within the top BFPP stratum had a genetic expectation of accruing almost an additional €36 profit per calving, relative to cows within the worst stratum; when validated on the cow’s own calving interval and survival performance as well as their progeny’s carcass performance, the actual phenotypic value was estimated to be an additional €32 profit per calving. A proportion of this additional profit was due to the harvested progeny of the high BFPP cows having, on average, heavier, more conformed carcasses with less fat cover relative to their poor BFPP contemporaries. This BFPP framework is a useful and easy-to-use tool to aid in producer decision making on the choice of females to voluntarily cull but also on which replacement heifers to graduate into the mature herd.
    • 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; MultiRepro; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2021-02)
      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 fromthe 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 liveweight 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.
    • Increasing Tree Cover on Irish Dairy and Drystock Farms

      Irwin, Rachel; Short, Ian; Ní Dhubháin, Áine (Dawn Media, 2022)
      What are the main barriers and perceptions that impede agroforestry uptake?
    • The Prebiotic Effect of Australian Seaweeds on Commensal Bacteria and Short Chain Fatty Acid Production in a Simulated Gut Model

      Shannon, Emer; Conlon, Michael; Hayes, Maria (MDPI AG, 2022-05-23)
      Diet is known to affect the composition and metabolite production of the human gut microbial community, which in turn is linked with the health and immune status of the host. Whole seaweeds (WH) and their extracts contain prebiotic components such as polysaccharides (PS) and polyphenols (PP). In this study, the Australian seaweeds, Phyllospora comosa, Ecklonia radiata, Ulva ohnoi, and their PS and PP extracts were assessed for potential prebiotic activities using an in vitro gut model that included fresh human faecal inoculum. 16S rRNA sequencing post gut simulation treatment revealed that the abundance of several taxa of commensal bacteria within the phylum Firmicutes linked with short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production, and gut and immune function, including the lactic acid producing order Lactobacillales and the chief butyrate-producing genera Faecalibacteria, Roseburia, Blautia, and Butyricicoccus were significantly enhanced by the inclusion of WH, PS and PP extracts. After 24 h fermentation, the abundance of total Firmicutes ranged from 57.35–81.55% in the WH, PS and PP samples, which was significantly greater (p ≤ 0.01) than the inulin (INU) polysaccharide control (32.50%) and the epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) polyphenol control (67.13%); with the exception of P. comosa PP (57.35%), which was significantly greater than INU only. However, all WH, PS and PP samples also increased the abundance of the phylum Proteobacteria; while the abundance of the phylum Actinobacteria was decreased by WH and PS samples. After 24 h incubation, the total and individual SCFAs present, including butyric, acetic and propionic acids produced by bacteria fermented with E. radiata and U. ohnoi, were significantly greater than the SCFAs identified in the INU and EGCG controls. Most notably, total SCFAs in the E. radiata PS and U. ohnoi WH samples were 227.53 and 208.68 µmol/mL, respectively, compared to only 71.05 µmol/mL in INU and 7.76 µmol/mL in the EGCG samples. This study demonstrates that whole seaweeds and their extracts have potential as functional food ingredients to support normal gut and immune function.
    • Characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern B.1.1.7, B.1.351 or P.1: data from seven EU/EEA countries, weeks 38/2020 to 10/2021

      Funk, Tjede; Pharris, Anastasia; Spiteri, Gianfranco; Bundle, Nick; Melidou, Angeliki; Carr, Michael; Gonzalez, Gabriel; Garcia-Leon, Alejandro; Crispie, Fiona; O’Connor, Lois; et al. (European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), 2021-04-22)
      We compared 19,207 cases of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7/S gene target failure (SGTF), 436 B.1.351 and 352 P.1 to non-variant cases reported by seven European countries. COVID-19 cases with these variants had significantly higher adjusted odds ratios for hospitalisation (B.1.1.7/SGTF: 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0–2.9; B.1.351: 3.6, 95% CI: 2.1–6.2; P.1: 2.6, 95% CI: 1.4–4.8) and B.1.1.7/SGTF and P.1 cases also for intensive care admission (B.1.1.7/SGTF: 2.3, 95% CI: 1.4–3.5; P.1: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.7–2.8).
    • The type of gum arabic affects interactions with soluble pea protein in complex coacervation

      Comunian, Talita A.; Archut, Artwin; Gomez-Mascaraque, Laura G.; Brodkorb, Andre; Drusch, Stephan; Marie Skłodowska-Curie; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; European Union; 754380; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2022-11)
      Complex coacervation is an encapsulation process involving two oppositely charged biopolymers. Since different compositions of gum arabic may affect its interaction with protein, we studied the complex coacervation of two types of gum arabic (GA) (Acacia senegal-GA1 and Acacia seyal-GA2) with soluble pea protein (SPP) through Zeta potential, turbidity, morphology, the secondary structure of SPP, UV/vis absorbance and thermodynamic parameters. The maximum formation of coacervates occurred at SPP:GA 3:1 (w/w) and pH 3.5–4.0 with changes in the secondary structure of SPP. GA1 combination resulted in higher binding constant, implying a stronger affinity between SPP and GA1. Entropy of 0.7 and 0.5 kJ/mol.K, and enthalpy of −151 and −95.5 kJ/mol were obtained for SPP:GA1 and SPP:GA2. The complex coacervation was spontaneous as proved by the negative values of the Gibbs free energy. GA1 resulted in stronger interactions with SPP, offering new alternatives for encapsulation of bioactive compounds.
    • Exploring adolescents’ perceptions of dairy farming careers in Ireland: views of students studying agricultural science in secondary school

      Beecher, Marion; Ryan, A.; Gorman, M. (Teagasc, 2022-06-24)
      A global challenge for dairy farmers is the attraction and retention of people to careers in primary agriculture. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of Irish secondary-level students studying agricultural science towards careers in dairy farming. Quantitative data were collected via a national survey (n = 976) prior to collection of qualitative data via two focus groups. Descriptive statistics including frequencies, percentages and means were used to analyse the quantitative data. Data analysis of the survey results identified general themes, which contributed to a deductive assessment of the overarching hypothesis, supplemented by inductive reasoning based on the analysis of the data from the focus groups. From the survey, adolescents perceived dairy farming as a physically demanding job with a poor work–life balance without any extra financial reward compared to other careers. In the focus groups, participants expressed concerns about environmental sustainability and economic viability. They also identified the ageing farming population as making it a less attractive career for young people. The paper supports arguments for greater integration of actual labour market opportunities into the secondary school curriculum to raise aspirations for 21st century careers in dairy farming, among other careers. There is an opportunity within the agricultural science curriculum to encourage students to explore the wide spectrum of emerging careers in food systems including dairy farming through classroom discussion, ideally with a variety of role models employed in the agricultural sector.
    • The distribution, type, popularity, size and availability of river-run gravel and crushed stone for use in land drainage systems and their suitability for mineral soils in Ireland

      Byrne, I.; Healy, M. G.; Fenton, Owen; Tuohy, P. (Teagasc, 2022-06-24)
      The performance of land drainage systems installed in mineral soils in Ireland is highly variable, and is dependent on, amongst other factors, the quality and suitability of the aggregate used. In Ireland, aggregate for land drainage systems is usually river-run gravel and crushed stone. This study classified the distribution, type, popularity, size and availability of aggregates for land drainage systems throughout Ireland and quantified their suitability for use in mineral soils. Eighty-six quarries were surveyed. Limestone and river-run gravel (80% of lithologies) are widespread throughout the country. The quarry aggregate sizes (“Q sizes”), reported by the quarries as either a single size, that is, “50 mm”, or a graded size, that is, 20–40 mm, were variable, changed across lithology and region and were, in most cases, larger than what is currently recommended. A particle size distribution analysis of 74 samples from 62 quarries showed that individual Q sizes increased in variability with increasing aggregate size. In some regions, the aggregate sold does not meet current national regulations, which specify an aggregate size ranging from 10 to 40 mm. The suitability of these aggregates for drainage in five soils of different textures was compared using three established design criteria. It was found that the aggregate in use is too large for heavy soil textures and is therefore unsuitable as drainage envelope material. Guidance for contractors, farmers and quarry owners will be required, and investment may be needed by quarries to produce aggregate that satisfies design criteria. An aggregate size, based on one or a combination of established aggregate design criteria, where an analysis of the soil texture is conducted and an appropriate aggregate is chosen based off its 15% passing size, is required.
    • Lameness prevalence and management practices on Irish pasture-based dairy farms

      Browne, N.; Hudson, C. D.; Crossley, R. E.; Sugrue, K.; Kennedy, Emer; Huxley, J. N.; Conneely, Muireann; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme; Dairy Research Ireland (Biomed Central, 2022-06-08)
      Background Lameness is a painful disease, which negatively impacts dairy cow production and welfare. The aim of this observational study was to determine herd lameness prevalence, describe current lameness management practices and identify the presence of established risk factors for lameness on Irish pasture-based dairy farms. Farms were visited once during grazing (99 farms) and again during housing (85 farms). Lameness scoring was carried out at each visit (AHDB 0–3 scale); cows were classified as lame if they scored two or three. Farm management practices and infrastructure characteristics were evaluated via farmer questionnaires and direct measurements of farm infrastructure. Results Median herd-level lameness prevalence was 7.9% (interquartile range = 5.6 – 13.0) during grazing and 9.1% (interquartile range = 4.9 – 12.0) during housing; 10.9% of cows were lame at a single visit and 3.5% were lame at both visits (chronically lame or had a repeat episode of lameness). Fifty-seven percent of farmers were not familiar with lameness scoring and only one farm carried out lameness scoring. Only 22% of farmers kept records of lame cows detected, and 15% had a lameness herd health plan. Twenty-eight percent of farmers waited more than 48 h to treat a lame cow, and 21% waited for more than one cow to be identified as lame before treating. Six percent of farmers carried out routine trimming and 31% regularly footbathed (> 12 times per year). Twelve percent put severely lame cows in a closer paddock and 8% stated that they used pain relief to treat severely lame cows. Over 50% of farms had at least one cow track measurement that was classified as rough or very rough, and cow tracks were commonly narrow for the herd size. On 6% of farms, all cubicle beds were bare concrete (no matting or bedding) and on a further 6% of farms, there was a combination of cubicles with and without matting or bedding. On 56% of farms, all pens contained less than 1.1 cubicles per cow and on 28% of farms, a proportion of pens contained less than 1.1 cubicles per cow. Conclusions Overall, this study identified infrastructure and management practices which could be improved upon. The comparatively low lameness prevalence demonstrated, compared to fully housed systems, also highlights the benefits of a pasture-based system for animal welfare; however, there remains scope for improvement.