Now showing items 21-40 of 2676

    • An outline of achievements in selected areas of forest research in Ireland 1960–2021

      Farrelly, Niall; Nemesio Gorriz, Miguel; Short, Ian; Ní Dhubháin, Á.; Tobin, B.; O’Hanlon, R.; Earl, R.; McCullagh, A.; O’Donoghue, C.; Ryan, M. (Teagasc, 2022-03-01)
      In this paper, we provide an overview of achievements in forest research in Ireland carried out by various agencies over the past 60 yr. Many of the outcomes of the research have ensured that policy and practice are well-founded, and many of the research results form the basis of current forest standards and practice. Forest research has, and will continue to have, a significant role in national policy development and international reporting commitments. The achievement of future goals and targets is increasingly dependent on the maintenance of the goods and services that forests provide; these can be enhanced through the establishment of new forests and by appropriate management of the resource (e.g. The EU Green Deal and EU Forest Strategy). We outline the current state of knowledge which can be used to inform afforestation goals and the importance of tree improvement, forest management and forest protection to improve competitiveness and sustainability. Research into forestry and carbon provides a focus on the opportunities and challenges of climate change to Irish forestry. Future efforts will involve longer-term monitoring of environmental change commensurate with the forest rotation to reduce the uncertainties associated with climate change. Research into forestry economics, attitudinal surveys and behavioural studies may help inform the achievement of future policy goals. Reducing the impacts of biotic attack through efficient surveying, disease monitoring and assessing future risk is likely to be the focus of future research effort.
    • Impact of a total mixed ration or pasture/pasture silage-based feeding strategy in the initial stages of lactation of spring-calving dairy cows on milk production, composition and selected milk processability parameters

      McKay, Z.C.; Mulligan, F.J.; Brady, E.L.; O’Sullivan, M.; Rajauria, G.; Lynch, M.B.; O’Callaghan, T.F.; Pierce, K.M.; Enterprise Ireland Innovative Partnership; Department of Agriculture Food and Marine; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-02-28)
      The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effect of feeding strategy on milk production, composition and selected processability parameters in the initial stages of lactation. Twenty Holstein Friesian cows were allocated to one of two dietary treatments (n = 10; 7 multiparous and 3 primiparous) in a randomised complete block design for 21 d from day 10 to day 31 post-calving. Treatment 1 (pasture-based system [PBS]) was a pasture/pasture silage-based diet where cows were offered ad libitum grazed pasture or pasture silage (when weather did not permit grazing) plus 3 kg DM/d or 5 kg DM/d concentrate supplementation, respectively. On average, cows grazed pasture for 7.5 d and were fed pasture silage indoors for 13.5 d. Treatment 2 (TMR) was a total mixed ration (TMR) diet made up of concentrate, plus maize silage, pasture silage, beet pulp, soya bean meal and straw. Multiparous cows were blocked on calving date and balanced for parity and milk yield. Primiparous cows were balanced for live weight. Milk attributes pertinent to composition and functionality (e.g., fatty acids and rennet coagulation time [RCT]) were examined over a 21-d experimental period from day 10 to day 31 post-calving. Cows offered PBS tended to have a lower test day milk yield (PBS = 24.2 kg/cow vs. TMR = 26.8 kg/cow, P = 0.09) and a greater milk urea nitrogen (MUN) content compared to TMR (PBS = 0.030 g/100 g milk vs. TMR = 0.013 g/100 g milk, P < 0.001). Most notably, PBS-derived milks had a greater (P < 0.001) concentration of cis-9 trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to TMR. In conclusion, milk produced during early lactation from both feeding strategies was suitable for processing. Feeding a TMR compared with ad libitum pasture/pasture silage had no impact on average milk pH, casein concentration or RCT. Cows fed a pasture/pasture silage-based diet produced milk with a desirable RCT for milk processing, while the higher MUN content from cows offered PBS did not impact the processability of milk. Furthermore, milk from cows offered PBS had greater concentrations of cis-9 trans-11 CLA, which may offer human health benefits.
    • A landscape classification map of Ireland and its potential use in national land use monitoring

      Carlier, J.; Doyle, M.; Finn, John; O hUallachain, Daire; Moran, J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 2019R425 (Elsevier BV, 2021-07)
      This study presents a novel landscape classification map of the Republic of Ireland and is the first to identify broad landscape classes by incorporating physiographic and land cover data. The landscape classification responds to commitments to identify and classify the Irish landscape as a signatory to the European Landscape Convention. The methodology applied a series of clustering iterations to determine an objective multivariate classification of physiographic landscape units and land cover datasets. The classification results determined nine statistically significant landscape classes and the development of a landscape classification map at a national scale. A statistical breakdown of land cover area and diversity of each class was interpreted, and a comparison was extended using independent descriptive variables including farmland use intensity, elevation, and dominant soil type. Each class depicts unique spatial and composition characteristics, from coastal, lowland and elevated, to distinct and dominating land cover types, further explained by the descriptive variables. The significance of individual classes and success of the classification is discussed with particular reference to the wider applicability of the map. The transferability of the methodology to other existing physiographic maps and environmental datasets to generate new landscape classifications is also considered. This novel work facilitates the development of a strategic framework to efficiently monitor, compare and analyse ecological and other land use data that is spatially representative of the distribution and extent of land cover in the Irish countryside.
    • Current research and emerging tools to improve fresh red meat quality

      GAGAOUA, Mohammed; Duffy, Geraldine; Álvarez García, Carlos; Burgess, Catherine; Hamill, Ruth; Crofton, Emily C.; Botinestean, Cristina; Ferragina, A.; Cafferky, J.; Mullen, Anne Maria; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-03-01)
      A consumer’s decision to purchase red meat is guided by a combination of many interacting factors including safety, nutrition, sustainability and perception of healthiness along with a variety of sensory characteristics such as colour, marbling, tenderness, juiciness and flavour. Red meat quality is complex and influenced by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors, spanning the chain from breed/genetics through to the final end product with key influences coming from on-farm management and post-mortem processing. As a result of various factors, including consumer demands, the importance of both red meat quality and safety has in recent times come to the fore for the meat industry, with steps to meet these requirements having a large bearing on profitability. Therefore, a critical review of steps which can help control these traits is very important. Accordingly, several processing strategies were proposed at the research and industry level aiming to improve fresh red meat quality traits. This review summarises the current methods applied to improve fresh red meat quality and safety, including the advances in management and prediction tools for carcass and technological and sensory quality traits. These methods are also relevant to the safety and microbiological status of carcasses and meat produced, along with the recent developments in sensory analysis, which aim to understand the sensory properties of red meat and consumers responses. The potential of foodomics approaches is discussed under the topics of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, which help our understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms behind the variation of sensory and technological quality traits and their use for the discovery of putative biomarkers. We further considered the current and emerging sequencing-based methods used to understand microbial community composition of fresh red meat.
    • Irish research response to dairy quality in an era of change

      O'Brien, Bernadette J.; Beresford, Tom; Cotter, Paul D.; Gleeson, D.; Kelly, A.; Kilcawley, Kieran; Magan, J.; McParland, Sinead; Murphy, E.; O’Callaghan, Tom; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      The Irish dairy sector is recognised for its very significant contribution to the national economic status; it is now worth ∼€5 billion annually and represents the largest food and drink export category, which, in turn, represents one of the four largest manufacturing industries in the country. Given anticipated further growth in global demand for dairy products and the positive attributes and capabilities that Ireland has to meet that demand, in terms of pasture-based production and cost competitiveness, it is incumbent for the sector to attain the highest quality milk and dairy products. The combined collaborative approach between research and industry has ensured significant progress and enabled Ireland to remain at the forefront globally in terms of production of quality milk and dairy products. This paper highlights some specific scientific platforms and technologies currently shaping the industry in this regard and discusses current research activity as well as anticipating key requirements for future progress. While research, and farm and processing plant management have accomplished very significant advances in milk and dairy product quality, some overarching emerging challenges include product substitution and sustainability. Some key pillars for the future have been identified on which a strong, efficient dairy sector can be maintained and progressed. Specifically, the use of evidence-based information and real-time measures in prediction and decision-making will be a crucial pillar for the dairy sector of the future. This can promote an approach of proactive maintenance and optimisation of production through improved predictability and control of manufacturing processes.
    • Benchmarking a decade of holistic agro-environmental studies within the Agricultural Catchments Programme

      Mellander, Per-Erik; Lynch, M.B.; Galloway, J.; Žurovec, O.; McCormack, Michele; O’Neill, M.; Hawtree, D.; Burgess, E.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      Meeting sustainable food production challenges requires efficient ways to manage nutrients and mitigate the losses of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to water. Future nutrient management therefore requires a clearer understanding of the relative influence of soils, geology, farm practice, landscape and weather on the propensity for nutrients to be lost to water. Within the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP), environmental, agronomic and socioeconomic data have been gathered since 2009, using the same experimental methodology in five meso-scale river catchments, and one karst spring zone, covering a range of soils, landscapes and farming systems. The ACP has contributed to a better understanding of nutrient mobilisation and transfer pathways and highlighted the influence of the physical and chemical environment as well as agricultural and meteorological drivers on diffuse nutrient loss to ground and surface waters. The environmental quality standards were breached for N and/or P in some of the catchments, but for different reasons and not always clearly linked to the source pressures within the catchment. There are clearly no one-size-fits-all solutions for mitigation of nutrient losses to water. A better understanding of the underlying processes is required to identify critical source areas, to select mitigation strategies, when to implement them and to build realistic expectations of their impact. Sustainability in an agricultural setting is not confined to environmental issues, but also includes social, economic and innovative aspects. To maximise farmers’ uptake of environmental measures, the actions should encompass all these aspects of sustainability. Integrated knowledge transfer is key.
    • Animal welfare research – progress to date and future prospects

      Boyle, Laura A; Conneely, M.; Kennedy, Emer; O’Connell, N.; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Earley, Bernadette (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      RECORDABSTRACTARTICLE Animal welfare research – progress to date and future prospects OTHER Author(s): L. Boyle 1 , M. Conneely 1 , E. Kennedy 1 , N. O’Connell 2 , K. O’Driscoll 1 , B. Earley 3 , Publication date (Electronic): 26 February 2022 Journal: Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research Publisher: Compuscript Keywords: Animal welfare, beef, dairy, pig, poultry, welfare assessment Abstract The welfare status of an animal is dependent on its ability to cope and exist in harmony with its environment, such that good physical and psychological health is maintained. Improving animal welfare is an increasingly important aspect of livestock production systems due, in a large extent, to increased consumer concerns about animal production practices. Animal welfare is an integrated part of quality assurance programmes for sustainable animal production, considering that welfare, health, management, economy, consumer acceptance and environmental impact are interdependent. The major welfare concerns in the livestock industry in recent years relate to the rearing and management of dairy calves, the welfare of the dairy cow, effect of husbandry management procedures on the welfare of beef cattle, rearing of sows in gestation and farrowing crates, and the broiler (meat) chicken sector. The paper will focus on scientific research underpinning these welfare concerns, with a particular focus on research conducted on the island of Ireland.
    • The development of effective ruminant breeding programmes in Ireland from science to practice

      Berry, Donagh; Dunne, F.L.; McHugh, Noirin; McParland, Sinead; O’Brien, A.C.; Twomey, A.J. (Teagasc, 2022-02-25)
      A genetic improvement programme is a sustainable, cumulative and permanent approach to achieving year-on-year performance gains. Its success is predicated not only on an efficient and effective breeding programme but also on a vision of the traits of importance in the future. A single, industry-owned, centralised database for cattle and sheep has been the foundation for genetic improvement programmes in Ireland. While DNA information has been heralded as a breakthrough for accelerating genetic gain, the basic principles of a successful animal breeding programme still remain the same: (1) a pertinent breeding goal, (2) the appropriate breeding objective to deliver on the breeding goal, (3) an accurate genetic evaluation system, (4) an efficient and effective breeding scheme, and (5) a system to disseminate the elite germplasm to the end user; also of importance is a system for validating the underlying procedures and principles. The constituent traits and their relative emphasis within breeding objectives will continue to be contentious. Traits that will need to be considered more in future ruminant breeding objectives include environmental impact, product quality and animal well-being, including health; while not always explicitly included in Irish breeding objectives for cattle and sheep, indirect improvements for many are expected via the genetic improvement in traits like reproductive performance and survival as well as macro measures of quality such as milk fat and protein concentration and carcass merit. Crucial for the future sustainability of ruminant production systems is the co-evolution of management systems and breeding programmes so that the animal of the future is suited to the most sustainably efficient production system.
    • Potatoes in Ireland: Sixty years of potato research and development, market evolution and perspectives on future challenges

      Griffin, Denis; Bourke, L.; Mullins, Ewen; Hennessy, M.; Phelan, S.; Kildea, Steven; Milbourne, Dan (Teagasc, 2022-02-25)
      Potato is often considered synonymous with Ireland, due to the great Irish famine in 1845, and remains the most important primary food crop in Ireland. Over the last 60 yr, the area of potatoes has reduced from 86,000 ha to 9,000 ha. This trend has occurred in most developed countries but in Ireland it is due to decreasing consumption, increasing yield, decline in seed production and potatoes no longer being use for animal feed. Significant specialisation occurred in the industry during the 1990s, with improvements in agronomy, on farm investment in storage and field equipment, consolidation of packing facilities, and a significant shift in cultivar choice, with Rooster becoming the dominant cultivar. These developments led to an increase in yield from 20 t/ha in the mid-1980s to over 40 t/ha today. Potato research in Ireland has focused on breeding, pathology and agronomy, while there have been significant changes in how knowledge is communicated to growers and the industry in this period. The industry faces many challenges in the future, largely framed by climate change, the need to reduce fertiliser and plant protection products as part of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and industry size constraints. New superior potato varieties and novel breeding techniques will have potential to help address many challenges in combination with integrated pest management principles. Multi-actor approaches will be necessary to address all challenges but particularly to aid the industry grow and exploit emerging opportunities.
    • Quantification of In Planta Zymoseptoria tritici Progression Through Different Infection Phases and Related Association with Components of Aggressiveness

      Rahman, Atikur; Doohan, Fiona; Mullins, Ewen; European Union; 674964 (Scientific Societies, 2020-06)
      In planta growth of Zymoseptoria tritici, causal agent of Septoria tritici blotch of wheat, during the infection process has remained an understudied topic due to the long symptomless latent period before the emergence of fruiting bodies. In this study, we attempted to understand the relationship between in planta growth of Z. tritici relative to the primary components of aggressiveness, i.e., latent period and pycnidia coverage in regard to contrasting host resistance. We tested isolates collected from Ireland against the susceptible cultivar Gallant and cultivar Stigg, which has strong partial resistance. A clear isolate−host interaction effect (F = 3.018; P = 0.005, and F = 6.008; P < 0.001) for latent period and pycnidia coverage, respectively, was identified. Furthermore, during the early infection phase of latency from 5 to 11 days postinoculation (dpi), in planta growth rate of fungal biomass was significantly (F = 30.06; P < 0.001) more affected by host resistance than isolate specificity (F = 1.27; P = 0.27), indicating the importance of host resistance in the early infection phase. In planta Z. tritici growth rates in cultivar Gallant spiked between 11 and 16 dpi followed by a continuous fall onward, whereas in cultivar Stigg it was slowly progressive in nature. From correlation and regression analysis, we found that the in planta growth rate preceding the average latent period of cultivar Gallant has more influence on latency duration and pycnidia production. Likewise, correlation between component of aggressiveness and in planta growth rate of pathogen supports our understanding of aggressiveness to be driven by the pathogen’s multiplication capacity within host tissue.
    • An overview of Irish pig production, research and knowledge transfer since 1960

      Boyle, Laura A.; Carroll, C.; Clarke, L.; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Gardiner, G.E.; McCutcheon, G.; McCrum, E.; McKeon, M.; Lawlor, Peadar; Lynch, B.; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-02-09)
      Pig production in Ireland has gone through enormous changes during the past 60 yr, from pigs being primarily produced as a sideline on dairy farms, to an industry with one of the highest average herd sizes in Europe. This happened in part due to external pressure on the industry, whereby economies of scale were needed to compete with pigs produced in other countries, but largely due to the instigation of national programmes to support the pig industry through research, education and knowledge transfer. These efforts helped producers to take advantage of genetic improvements and monitor their own performance over time, as well as allowing for benchmarking of the national herd against other countries. The research programme initiated in the 1960s continues to grow and expand, providing the pig industry with internationally renowned data and knowledge in the areas of nutrition, animal welfare, the environment and energy use. Recent initiatives such as the establishment of the Teagasc and Irish Farmers Association Pig Joint Programme, and a Pig Health Check section in Animal Health Ireland, will help to promote further cross-collaboration between stakeholders in the pig industry, and enable it to rise to the challenges of the years ahead.
    • Irish Grassland Research — main achievements and advancements in the past 60 yrs and where to progress to next

      O’Donovan, Michael; Dillon, P.; Conaghan, Patrick; Hennessy, Deirdre (Teagasc, 2022-02-09)
      In the last 60 yr Irish grassland production has increased substantially in no small part due to high-quality fundamental grassland research. Increased production from grassland has arisen from improved understanding (research and practice) of soil and plant nutrition, plant physiology and variety improvement, while improved understanding of feed evaluation, ruminant nutrition, grazing management and silage technology has contributed to increased utilisation of grassland. Annual grass DM production varies from 12.7 to 15.0 t DM/ha based on Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine grass variety trials. More recent data from PastureBase Ireland indicate that average annual grass production (2020) on efficient dairy and dry stock farms is 13.5 and 10.0 t DM/ha, respectively. Ireland is now one of the world leaders in grassland research, particularly in the area of grazing utilisation, the development and use of grassland databases, decision support systems and grass selection indices for grass varieties. Future pasture-based systems must extend beyond food production to deliver additional benefits to farmers, to consumers and the wider society. Future systems will require more robust grazing animals with healthier functional traits, more diverse swards supporting improved animal performance and require fewer fertiliser and chemical inputs, and will support more biodiversity and enhanced carbon storage.
    • Meta-analysis of cheese microbiomes highlights contributions to multiple aspects of quality

      Walsh, Aaron M.; Macori, Guerrino; Kilcawley, Kieran N.; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; European Commission; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; SFI/12/RC/2273P1; SFI/12/RC/2273P2; 818368; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-08-13)
      A detailed understanding of the cheese microbiome is key to the optimization of flavour, appearance, quality and safety. Accordingly, we conducted a high-resolution meta-analysis of cheese microbiomes and corresponding volatilomes. Using 77 new samples from 55 artisanal cheeses from 27 Irish producers combined with 107 publicly available cheese metagenomes, we recovered 328 metagenome-assembled genomes, including 47 putative new species that could influence taste or colour through the secretion of volatiles or biosynthesis of pigments. Additionally, from a subset of samples, we found that differences in the abundances of strains corresponded with levels of volatiles. Genes encoding bacteriocins and other antimicrobials, such as pseudoalterin, were common, potentially contributing to the control of undesirable microorganisms. Although antibiotic-resistance genes were detected, evidence suggested they are not of major concern with respect to dissemination to other microbiomes. Phages, a potential cause of fermentation failure, were abundant and evidence for phage-mediated gene transfer was detected. The anti-phage defence mechanism CRISPR was widespread and analysis thereof, and of anti-CRISPR proteins, revealed a complex interaction between phages and bacteria. Overall, our results provide new and substantial technological and ecological insights into the cheese microbiome that can be applied to further improve cheese production.
    • Dietary supplementation with fish oil and safflower oil, during the finishing period, alters brisket muscle fatty acid profile and n-6/n-3 ratio but not carcass traits of dairy beef bulls

      Byrne, C. J.; Fair, S.; Dick, J. R.; Lonergan, P.; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/116 (American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, 2021-08)
      Objective: With increases in the global population, there is a need to identify strategies that increase beef output while maintaining or improving health benefits of beef products. Studies have demonstrated that there are many benefits to human health in response to reducing the dietary n-6 to n-3 ratio. The aim of this study was to characterize the carcass characteristics and brisket muscle fatty acid profile of young dairy bred bulls following dietary supplementation with n-6 or n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Material and Methods: Holstein-Friesian (n = 43) and Jersey (n = 7) bulls with a mean ± s.e.m. age and bodyweight of 420.1 ± 5.86 days and 382.0 ± 8.94 kg, respectively, were offered a cereal based concentrate diet on an ad libitum basis, fortified with one of three lipid supplements: control (CTL; no supplementary lipid), n-6 PUFA safflower (SO), or n-3 PUFA enriched fish oil (FO). Bulls were individually offered their respective diet for 12 weeks prior to slaughter. Carcass weight, conformation and fat score were recorded at slaughter for all animals, while brisket muscle was collected from 26 randomly selected bulls and lipid profile analysed using GC. Results and Discussion: Total n-3 PUFA concentration was greater for FO than either SO or CTL diets (P < 0.05). Although there was no difference in the muscle total n-6 concentration between diets (P = 0.52), n-6 to n-3 ratio was 3.2 and 3.9 times lower for FO (P < 0.001) than either CTL or SO diets, respectively. Total intake of n-3 PUFA accounted for 72% of the variation in the n-6 to n-3 ratio. Despite the differences in fatty acid profiles, there was no effect of dietary lipid supplementation on carcass weight (P = 0.63), conformation (P = 0.79), or fat score (P = 0.84. Implications and Applications: Beef producers can feed n-6 and/or n-3 PUFA enriched diets that would result in beef having potential health benefits and greater branding potential.
    • Microbiome-based environmental monitoring of a dairy processing facility highlights the challenges associated with low microbial-load samples

      McHugh, Aoife J.; Yap, Min; Crispie, Fiona; Feehily, Conor; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; European Commission; 14/F/883; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-02-15)
      Efficient and accurate identification of microorganisms throughout the food chain can potentially allow the identification of sources of contamination and the timely implementation of control measures. High throughput DNA sequencing represents a potential means through which microbial monitoring can be enhanced. While Illumina sequencing platforms are most typically used, newer portable platforms, such as the Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) MinION, offer the potential for rapid analysis of food chain microbiomes. Initial assessment of the ability of rapid MinION-based sequencing to identify microbes within a simple mock metagenomic mixture is performed. Subsequently, we compare the performance of both ONT and Illumina sequencing for environmental monitoring of an active food processing facility. Overall, ONT MinION sequencing provides accurate classification to species level, comparable to Illumina-derived outputs. However, while the MinION-based approach provides a means of easy library preparations and portability, the high concentrations of DNA needed is a limiting factor.
    • Seasonality and Geography Have a Greater Influence than the Use of Chlorine-Based Cleaning Agents on the Microbiota of Bulk Tank Raw Milk

      Yap, Min; Gleeson, David; O’Toole, Paul W.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; Irish Dairy Levy (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-10-28)
      Cleaning of the production environment is vital to ensure the safety and quality of dairy products. Although cleaning with chlorine-based agents is widely adopted, it has been associated with detrimental effects on milk quality and safety, which has garnered increasing interest in chlorine-free cleaning. However, the influence of these methods on the milk microbiota is not well documented. This study investigated the factors that influence the raw milk microbiota, with a focus on the differences when chlorine-based and chlorine-free cleaning of milking equipment are used. Bulk tank raw milk was sampled during three sampling months (April, August, and November), from farms across Ireland selected to capture the use of different cleaning methods, i.e., exclusively chlorine-based (n = 51) and chlorine-free cleaning (n = 92) and farms that used chlorine-free agents for the bulk tank and chlorine-based cleaning agents for the rest of the equipment (n = 28). Shotgun metagenomic analysis revealed the significant influence of seasonal and geographic factors on the bulk tank milk microbiota, indicated by differences in diversity, taxonomic composition, and functional characteristics. Taxonomic and functional profiles of samples collected in November clustered separately from those of samples collected in other months. In contrast, cleaning methods only accounted for 1% of the variation in the bulk tank milk bacterial community, and samples collected from farms using chlorine-based versus chlorine-free cleaning did not differ significantly, suggesting that the chlorine-free approaches used did not negatively impact microbiological quality. This study shows the value of shotgun metagenomics in advancing our knowledge of the raw milk microbiota.
    • Development and validation of a quantitative method for 15 antiviral drugs in poultry muscle using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry

      Douillet, Clément; Moloney, Mary; Di Rocco, Melissa; Elliott, Christopher; Danaher, Martin; European Union; Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology; 727864 (Elsevier BV, 2022-02)
      The objective of this work was to develop a quantitative multi-residue method for analysing antiviral drug residues and their metabolites in poultry meat samples. Antiviral drugs are not licensed for the treatment of influenza in food producing animals. However, there have been some reports indicating their illegal use in poultry. In this study, a method was developed for the analysis of 15 antiviral drug residues in poultry muscle (chicken, duck, quail and turkey) using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. This included 13 drugs against influenza and associated metabolites, but also two drugs employed for the treatment of herpes (acyclovir and ganciclovir). The method required the development of a novel chromatographic separation using a hydrophilic interaction chromatographic (HILIC) BEH amide column, which was necessary to retain the highly polar compounds. The analytes were detected using a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer operating in positive electrospray ionization mode. A range of different sample preparation protocols suitable for polar compounds were evaluated. The most effective procedure was based on a simple acetonitrile-based protein precipitation step followed by a further dilution in a methanol/water solution. The confirmatory method was validated according to the EU 2021/808 guidelines on different species including chicken, duck, turkey and quail. The validation was performed using various calibration curves ranging from 0.1 µg kg−1to 200 µg kg−1, according to the analyte. Depending on the analyte sensitivity, decision limits achieved ranged from 0.12 µg kg−1 for arbidol to 34.7 µg kg−1 for ribavirin. Overall, the reproducibility precision values ranged from 2.8% to 22.7% and the recoveries from 84% to 127%. The method was applied to 120 commercial poultry samples from the Irish market, which were all found to be residue-free.
    • A comparative study on seed physiology and germination requirements for 15 species of Eucalyptus

      Afroze, Farhana; Douglas, Gerry C.; Grogan, Helen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/S/759 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-09-23)
      Seed physiology of 15 Eucalyptus species of interest for cut foliage plantations was unknown and therefore evaluated. The viability and vigour of seeds and germination potential of 15 Eucalyptus species was determined by using a tetrazolium (TZ) staining test, and the results were compared to a germination test. In a separate experiment, seeds of each lot were subjected to either 0 or 4-week cold stratification at 4 ± 1 °C to investigate their potential stratification requirement. After stratification, seeds were then allowed to germinate at 22 ± 1 °C with 16 h lighting per day for 36 days. Seed viability and vigour were checked by evaluating % root, cotyledon and first true leaves emergence, and the speed of emergence, in the germination test. The germination percentages varied with the species. Seed stratification with the interaction of seed species lots significantly affected both viability and vigour. The seed viability of the different species ranged from 9 to 100% and 2 to 100%, for the TZ test and germination test, respectively, with a high correlation (R2 = 0.89) between the two. Physiology tests revealed that cold stratification of seed was not required for the 15 species to maximise their germination potential and growth in Irish and British climate.
    • Prunus laurocerasus - A crop walkers guide to pests and diseases

      Horticulture Development Department; Grogan, Helen; McGuinness, Brian; Whelton, Andy; Baars, Jan-Robert; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15S759 (Teagasc, 2021)
      The large glossy leaves of Prunus laurocerasus are affected by a variety of problems including pests, diseases and nutrition. The most common issue is commonly referred to as ‘shothole’ due to the nature of the disease symptoms and its’ resemblance to shotgun damage. The causal agents of ‘shothole disease’ vary considerably and this will affect how you approach your disease management strategy.
    • Performance of lactating suckler cows of diverse genetic merit and genotype under a seasonal pasture-based system

      McCabe, S.; McHugh, Noirin; O'Connell, N. E.; Prendiville, Robert (Teagasc, 2021-12-21)
      The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of genetic merit of the national Irish maternal index and genotype (i.e. beef vs. beef × dairy [BDX]) of beef cows and subsequent performance of their progeny. With the exception that high genetic merit cows produced 0.57 kg more milk and tended to have 0.04 of a lower body condition score (BCS), no significant differences were observed between cows of diverse genetic merit. Differences between contrasting cow genotype were apparent. Beef cows were 50 kg heavier and had a BCS 0.27 greater than BDX cows. The BDX cows produced 1.67 kg more milk and had a greater 24-d submission rate than beef cows. Calves generated from BDX cows were 19 kg heavier at weaning and were worth €51 more than progeny generated from beef cows. Beef cow progeny, however, had 0.77 of a greater conformation score at slaughter than BDX. While differences were observed across cows of different replacement strategies, results from the current study showed that genetic selection for national maternal index had no effect on the overall performance of suckler cows in a pasture-based spring-calving system.