Now showing items 21-40 of 1664

    • The effect of entomopathogenic fungal culture filtrate on the immune response and haemolymph proteome of the large pine weevil, Hylobius abietis

      Mc Namara, Louise; Griffin, Christine T.; Fitzpatrick, David; Kavanagh, Kevin; Carolan, James C.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; 10/RD/MCOP/NUIM/720; 12/RI/2346 (3) (Elsevier, 2018-07-17)
      The large pine weevil Hylobius abietis L. is a major forestry pest in 15 European countries, where it is a threat to 3.4 million hectares of forest. A cellular and proteomic analysis of the effect of culture filtrate of three entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) species on the immune system of H. abietis was performed. Injection with Metarhizium brunneum or Beauvaria bassiana culture filtrate facilitated a significantly increased yeast cell proliferation in larvae. Larvae co-injected with either Beauvaria caledonica or B. bassiana culture filtrate and Candida albicans showed significantly increased mortality. Together these results suggest that EPF culture filtrate has the potential to modulate the insect immune system allowing a subsequent pathogen to proliferate. Injection with EPF culture filtrate was shown to alter the abundance of protease inhibitors, detoxifing enzymes, antimicrobial peptides and proteins involved in reception/detection and development in H. abietis larvae. Larvae injected with B. caledonica culture filtrate displayed significant alterations in abundance of proteins involved in cellulolytic and other metabolic processes in their haemolymph proteome. Screening EPF for their ability to modulate the insect immune response represents a means of assessing EPF for use as biocontrol agents, particularly if the goal is to use them in combination with other control agents.
    • Sharpea and Kandleria are lactic acid producing rumen bacteria that do not change their fermentation products when co-cultured with a methanogen

      Kumar, Sandeep; Treloar, Bryan P.; Teh, Koon Hoong; McKenzie, Catherine M.; Henderson, Gemma; Attwood, Graeme T.; Waters, Sinéad M.; Patchett, Mark L.; Janssen, Peter H.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-07-25)
      Sharpea and Kandleria are associated with rumen samples from low-methane-emitting sheep. Four strains of each genus were studied in culture, and the genomes of nine strains were analysed, to understand the physiology of these bacteria. All eight cultures grew equally well with d-glucose, d-fructose, d-galactose, cellobiose, and sucrose supplementation. d-Lactate was the major end product, with small amounts of the mixed acid fermentation products formate, acetate and ethanol. Genes encoding the enzymes necessary for this fermentation pattern were found in the genomes of four strains of Sharpea and five of Kandleria. Strains of Sharpea produced traces of hydrogen gas in pure culture, but strains of Kandleria did not. This was consistent with finding that Sharpea, but not Kandleria, genomes contained genes coding for hydrogenases. It was speculated that, in co-culture with a methanogen, Sharpea and Kandleria might change their fermentation pattern from a predominately homolactic to a predominately mixed acid fermentation, which would result in a decrease in lactate production and an increase in formation of acetate and perhaps ethanol. However, Sharpea and Kandleria did not change their fermentation products when co-cultured with Methanobrevibacter olleyae, a methanogen that can use both hydrogen and formate, and lactate remained the major end product. The results of this study therefore support a hypothesis that explains the link between lower methane yields and larger populations of Sharpea and Kandleria in the rumens of sheep.
    • The role of extension and forest characteristics in understanding the management decisions of new forest owners in Ireland

      Upton, Vincent; Ryan, Mary; Heanue, Kevin; Ní Dhubháin, Áine (Elsevier, 2017-10-14)
      Many European countries have seen significant changes in forest ownership structure, with the emergence of a cohort commonly referred to as new forest owners, mainly within the non-industrial, private forest (NIPF) owner group. The drivers of this change differ between countries but these owners frequently lack an existing knowledge base to draw on regarding forest management decisions and practices and may possess different objectives to traditional owners. As a result there is uncertainty concerning the management intentions of these owners. The provision of extension services is a recognised approach to supporting decision-making by NIPF owners but there have been relatively few studies that have sought to quantify the effectiveness of such initiatives in terms of management outcomes. In addition to measuring the outcome of extension initiatives, exploring the positive or negative outcomes can assist with the design of future initiatives. Ensuring that such initiatives are designed for appropriate phases in the forest life-cycle is important. This paper reports the results from a number of surveys that sought to explore the impact of an extension initiative, a thinning demonstration, on actual management outcomes and what characteristics of owners and their forests might explain observed management decisions. A retrospective pre-post test questionnaire was used at the demonstration to capture knowledge impacts and management intentions. A follow up survey was conducted 18 months later to investigate what, if any, practices had been undertaken. Data from a national household survey of land owners were also analysed to investigate whether the observations from the demonstration had significance for the wider population. The results suggest that the demonstration was successful in imparting knowledge to forest owners both in terms of self-reported learning and actual management outcomes. However, from an Irish perspective management decisions are dominated by forest age as the majority of the private estate is still in its first rotation. This presents a challenge to extension service personnel and to research seeking to explain management practices at a national level.
    • Antioxidant Activity and Phytochemical Characterization of Senecio clivicolus Wedd.

      Faraone, Immacolata; Rai, Dilip; Chiummiento, Lucia; Fernandez, Eloy; Choudhary, Alka; Prinzo, Prinzo; Milella, Luigi; University of Basilicata; D.G.R. 1490 (MDPI, 2018-09-29)
      Antioxidant phytochemicals play a key role in oxidative stress control and in the prevention of related disorders, such as premature aging, degenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential antioxidant activity and the phytochemical profile of Senecio clivicolus Wedd., a perennial shrub, belonging to the Asteraceae family. Despite the wide interest of this family, this specie has not been investigated yet. S. clivicolus aerial parts were extracted with 96% ethanol. Then, the ethanol extract was fractionated by liquid/liquid extraction using an increasing solvents polarity. Total polyphenol and terpenoid contents were measured. Moreover, the antioxidant activity was evaluated by six different complementary in vitro assays. The Relative Antioxidant Capacity Index (RACI) was used to compare data obtained by different tests. The sample showing the highest RACI was subjected to characterization and quantitation of its phenolic composition using LC-MS/MS analysis. The ethyl acetate fraction, investigated by LC-MS/MS analysis, showed 30 compounds, most of them are chlorogenic acid and flavonoid derivatives. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report about the evaluation of antioxidant activity and phytochemical profile of S. clivicolus, underlying the importance of this species as a source of health-promoting phytochemicals
    • Blood immune transcriptome analysis of artificially fed dairy calves and naturally suckled beef calves from birth to 7 days of age

      Surlis, C.; Earley, Bernadette; McGee, Mark; Keogh, K.; Cormican, Paul; Blackshields, G.; Tiernan, K.; Dunn, A.; Morrison, S.; Arguello, A.; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-10-18)
      Neonatal calves possess a very immature and naïve immune system and are reliant on the intake of maternal colostrum for passive transfer of immunoglobulins. Variation in colostrum management of beef and dairy calves is thought to affect early immune development. Therefore, the objective of this study was to examine changes in gene expression and investigate molecular pathways involved in the immune-competence development of neonatal Holstein dairy calves and naturally suckled beef calves using next generation RNA-sequencing during the first week of life. Jugular whole blood samples were collected from Holstein (H) dairy calves (n = 8) artificially fed 5% B.W. colostrum, and from beef calves which were the progenies of Charolais-Limousin (CL; n = 7) and Limousin-Friesian beef suckler cows (LF; n = 7), for subsequent RNA isolation. In dairy calves, there was a surge in pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression possibly due to the stress of separation from the dam. LF calves exhibited early signs of humoral immune development with observed increases in the expression genes coding for Ig receptors, which was not evident in the other breeds by 7 days of age. Immune and health related DEGs identified as upregulated in beef calves are prospective contender genes for the classification of biomarkers for immune-competence development, and will contribute towards a greater understanding of the development of an immune response in neonatal calves.
    • RNA-seq analysis of bovine adipose tissue in heifers fed diets differing in energy and protein content

      Waerp, Hilde K. L.; Waters, Sinead M; McCabe, Matthew S.; Cormican, Paul; Salte, Ragnar; Research Council of Norway; TINE SA Norwegian dairies; Felleskjøpet agricultural cooperative; Animalia AS; 199448 (PLOS, 2018-09-20)
      Adipose tissue is no longer considered a mere energy reserve, but a metabolically and hormonally active organ strongly associated with the regulation of whole-body metabolism. Knowledge of adipose metabolic regulatory function is of great importance in cattle management, as it affects the efficiency and manner with which an animal converts feedstuff to milk, meat and fat. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating metabolism in bovine adipose tissue are still not fully elucidated. The emergence of next-generation sequencing technologies has facilitated the analysis of metabolic function and regulation at the global gene expression level. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of diets differing in protein and energy density level on gene expression in adipose tissue of growing replacement dairy heifers using next-generation RNA sequencing (RNAseq). Norwegian Red heifers were fed either a high- or low-protein concentrate (HP/LP) and a high- or low-energy roughage (HE/LE) diet from 3 months of age until confirmed pregnancy to give four treatments (viz, HPHE, HPLE, LPHE, LPLE) with different growth profiles. Subcutaneous adipose tissue sampled at 12 months of age was analyzed for gene expression differences using RNAseq. The largest difference in gene expression was found between LPHE and LPLE heifers, for which 1092 genes were significantly differentially expressed, representing an up-regulation of mitochondrial function, lipid, carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism as well as changes in the antioxidant system in adipose tissue of LPHE heifers. Differences between HPHE and HPLE heifers were much smaller, and dominated by genes representing NAD biosynthesis, as was the significantly differentially expressed genes (DEG) common to both HE-LE contrasts. Differences between HP and LP groups within each energy treatment were minimal. This study emphasizes the importance of transcriptional regulation of adipose tissue energy metabolism, and identifies candidate genes for further studies on early-stage obesity and glucose load in dairy cattle.
    • Impact on the physicochemical and sensory properties of salt reduced corned beef formulated with and without the use of salt replacers

      Fellendorf, Susann; Kerry, J. P.; Hamill, Ruth M; O'Sullivan, Maurice G.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11 F 026 (Elsevier, 2018-03-02)
      The aim of this study was to investigate physicochemical and microbiological properties as well as a sensory (affective and descriptive) driven sodium reduction (0.2 g/100 g - 1.0 g/100 g product) strategy for a cured meat product (corned beef). A second aim was to use the same methodology to further reduce salt, using salt replacers. Significant differences in colour, hardness and cooking loss were measured. Corned beef samples low in sodium (0.2 g/100 g, 0.4 g/100 g) showed reduced (P < 0.05) saltiness perception, but were positively correlated (P > 0.05) to liking of flavour and overall acceptability. Samples formulated with CaCl2, MgCl2 and KCl scored higher (P < 0.01) in saltiness perceptions, but correlated negatively (P > 0.05) to liking of flavour and overall acceptability. However, a sodium reduction in corned beef was determined to be achievable as assessors liked (P < 0.05) the flavour of the sodium reduced corned beef containing 0.4 g/100 g sodium and formulated with potassium lactate and glycine (KLG), even with the noticeable lower salty taste. Sodium reduction in corned beef (packaged under modified atmosphere) did not negatively impact on the microbiological shelf-life.
    • Conjugated linoleic acid production and probiotic assessment of Lactobacillus plantarum isolated from Pico cheese

      Ribeiro, Susana C.; Stanton, Catherine; Yang, Bo; Ross, R Paul; Silva, Célia C.G.; Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia; Science Foundation of Ireland; Fundo Regional para a Ciência e Tecnologia; PTDC/AGR-ALI/104385/2008; M3.1.2/F/011/2011 (Elsevier, 2017-12-29)
      Lactic acid bacteria isolated from a traditional Azorean cheese were screened for their ability to convert free linoleic acid to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Two strains of Lactobacillus plantarum were recognized as potential CLA producers. GC analysis identified cis-9, trans-11 C18:2 as the predominant isomer (10–14 μg/mL), followed by trans-9, trans-11 C18:2 (4–6 μg/mL). The CLA producing strains demonstrated strong biofilm capacity, high cell surface hydrophobicity and good auto-aggregation ability. These strains were capable of surviving in the presence of bile salts (0.3%) and pancreatin (0.1%), but only the highest CLA producer (L3C1E8) was able to resist low pH (2.5). Moreover, the CLA-producers showed good adhesion capacity to intestinal human cells (Caco-2 and HT-29) and were able to prevent colonization of Escherichia coli. Of the two strains, Lactobacillus plantarum L3C1E8 revealed superior probiotic properties and great potential for producing food products enriched in the two CLA isomers, cis-9, trans-11 C18:2 (60%) and trans-9, trans-11 C18:2 (25%).
    • Impact of ultrasound and blanching on functional properties of hot-air dried and freeze dried onions

      Ren, F.; Perussello, C. A.; Zhang, Z.; Kerry, J. P.; Tiwari, Brijesh; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; FIRM 450 06/TNI/AFRC6 (Elsevier, 2017-08-22)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ultrasonic treatment and blanching prior to hot-air drying and freeze drying of onions on the retention of bioactive compounds (total phenolics, total flavonoids, and quercetin). Onion slices were treated either with ultrasound at 20 kHz and different amplitude levels (24.4–61 μm) for 1, 3 and 5 min or with blanching using hot water at 70 °C for 1, 3 and 5 min. The ultrasound treatment improved the retention of bioactive compounds (especially quercetin) and accordingly the antioxidant activity in onion slices dried either by freeze drying or hot-air drying. This is ascribed to the destruction of the original tissue structure by ultrasound and thus higher extraction ability of the studied phytochemicals. Comparing ultrasound treated samples, freeze dried onions had a higher retention of bioactive compounds than hot-air dried ones. Blanched and ultrasound treated dried onions exhibited similar colour change. Therefore, ultrasound treatment is a potential alternative to conventional blanching before drying of onion slices.
    • Simulated gastrointestinal digestion of nisin and interaction between nisin and bile

      Gough, Ronan; O'Connor, Paula M.; Rea, Mary C.; Gómez-Sala, Beatriz; Miao, Song; Hill, Colin; Brodkorb, Andre; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 10/RD/TMFRC/701 (Elsevier, 2017-08-14)
      Nisin, an antimicrobial peptide showing activity against many Gram positive bacteria, is widely used as a food preservative. The simulated gastrointestinal digestion of nisin (variant A) was studied using the in vitro INFOGEST digestion method. Following oral, gastric and small intestinal digestion, there was no intact nisin in the system and the nisin was primarily digested by pancreatin. After digestion, six nisin fragments (1–11, 1–12, 1–20, 1–21, 1–29 and 1–32) were identified by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopy and four of these nisin fragments (1–20, 1–21, 1–29 and 1–32) demonstrated low antibacterial activity against Lactococcus lactis HP in agar diffusion activity assays. Additionally, it was observed that bile salts form a complex with nisin. This was examined by atomic force microscopy, turbidity and dynamic light scattering, which showed that this interaction resulted in significantly larger bile salt micelles. The presence of bile salts at physiological levels significantly altered the relative amounts of the nisin fragments 1–12, 1–20 and 1–29 produced during an in vitro digestion. This study highlights the importance of including bile in simulated digestions of antimicrobial peptides in order to obtain a more accurate simulation of the in vivo digestion products and their activity.
    • Forage type influences milk yield and ruminal responses to wheat adaptation in late-lactation dairy cows

      Russo, Victoria M.; Leury, B.J.; Kennedy, Emer; Hannah, M.C.; Auldist, M.J.; Wales, W.J.; Agriculture Victoria Research; Dairy Australia; Teagasc; The University of Melbourne (Elsevier, 2018-08-23)
      The effects of different wheat adaptation strategies on ruminal fluid pH, dry matter intake (DMI) and energy-corrected milk (ECM) were measured in 28 late-lactation dairy cows. Cows were fed either perennial ryegrass (PRG) hay or alfalfa hay and had no previous wheat adaptation. Wheat was gradually substituted for forage in 3 even increments, over 6 or 11 d, until wheat made up 40% of DMI (∼8 kg of dry matter/cow per day). We found no differences in DMI between adaptation strategies (6 or 11 d) within forage type; however, cows fed alfalfa hay consumed more overall and produced more ECM. The rate of ruminal pH decline after feeding, as well as the decrease in mean, minimum, and maximum ruminal pH with every additional kilogram of wheat was greater for cows fed alfalfa hay. Cows fed alfalfa hay and on the 6-d adaptation strategy had the lowest mean and minimum ruminal fluid pH on 3 consecutive days and were the only treatment group to record pH values below 6.0. Despite ruminal pH declining to levels typically considered low, no other measured parameters indicated compromised fermentation or acidosis. Rather, cows fed alfalfa hay and adapted to wheat over 6 d had greater ECM yields than cows on the 11-d strategy. This was due to the 6-d adaptation strategy increasing the metabolizable energy intake in a shorter period than the 11-d strategy, as substituting wheat for alfalfa hay caused a substantial increase in the metabolizable energy concentration of the diet. We found no difference in ECM between adaptation strategies when PRG hay was fed, as there was no difference in metabolizable energy intake. The higher metabolizable energy concentration and lower intake of the PRG hay meant the increase in metabolizable energy intake with the substitution of wheat was less pronounced for cows consuming PRG hay compared with alfalfa hay. Neither forage type nor adaptation strategy affected time spent ruminating. The higher intakes likely contributed to the lower ruminal pH values from the alfalfa hay treatments. However, both forages allowed the rumen contents to resist the large declines in ruminal pH typically seen during rapid grain adaptation. Depending on the choice of base forage, rapid grain introduction may not result in poor adaptation. In situations where high-energy grains are substituted for a low-energy, high-fiber basal forage, rapid introduction could prove beneficial over gradual strategies.
    • Effect of equine chorionic gonadotropin treatment during a progesterone-based timed artificial insemination program on reproductive performance in seasonal-calving lactating dairy cows

      Randi, Federico; Sánchez, José Maria; Herlihy, Mary M.; Valenza, Alessio; Kenny, David A.; Butler, Stephen T.; Lonergan, Patrick; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S515; 13S528 (Elsevier, 2018-08-23)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of progesterone (P4)-based timed artificial insemination (TAI) programs on fertility in seasonal-calving, pasture-based dairy herds. A total of 1,421 lactating dairy cows on 4 spring-calving farms were stratified based on days in milk (DIM) and parity and randomly allocated to 1 of 3 treatments: (1) control: no hormonal treatment; cows inseminated at detected estrus; (2) P4-Ovsynch: cows received a 7-d P4-releasing intravaginal device (PRID Delta; CEVA Santé Animale, Libourne, France) with 100 μg of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analog (Ovarelin; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID insertion, a 25-mg injection of PGF2α (Enzaprost; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID removal, GnRH at 56 h after device removal and TAI 16 h later; (3) P4-Ovsynch+eCG: the same as P4-Ovsynch, but cows received 500 IU of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG; Syncrostim; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID removal. At 10 d before mating start date (MSD), all cows that were ≥35 DIM were examined by transrectal ultrasound to assess presence or absence of a corpus luteum; body condition score (BCS) was also recorded. Pregnancy diagnosis was performed by transrectal ultrasonography 30 to 35 d after insemination. Overall pregnancy/AI (P/AI) was not different between groups (50.9, 49.8, and 46.3% for control, P4-Ovsynch, and P4-Ovsynch+eCG, respectively) but the 21-d pregnancy rate was increased by the use of synchronization (35.0, 51.7, and 47.2%, respectively). Compared with the control group, synchronization significantly reduced the interval from MSD to conception (34.6, 23.0, and 26.5 d, respectively) and consequently reduced the average days open (98.0, 86.0, and 89.0 d). Across all treatment groups, DIM at the start of synchronization affected P/AI (42.3, 49.5, and 53.9% for <60, 60–80, and >80 DIM, respectively), but neither parity (46.5, 50.4, and 48.4% for parity 1, 2, and ≥3, respectively) nor BCS (44.0, 49.4, and 58.6% for ≤2.50, 2.75–3.25, and ≥3.50, respectively) affected the likelihood of P/AI. Two-way interactions between treatment and DIM, parity, or BCS were not detected. In conclusion, the use of TAI accelerated pregnancy establishment in cows in a pasture-based system by reducing days open, but eCG administration at PRID removal did not affect P/AI.
    • The relationship between serum insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) concentration and reproductive performance, and genome-wide associations for serum IGF-1 in Holstein cows

      Gobikrushanth, M.; Purfield, Deirdre C; Colazo, M. G.; Wang, Z.; Butler, Stephen T.; Ambrose, D. J.; Growing Forward 2; Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency; Alberta Milk; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-07-19)
      The objectives of this study were to determine (1) factors associated with serum concentration of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1); (2) the relationship between serum IGF-1 concentration during the first week postpartum and ovarian cyclicity status by 35 d postpartum (DPP); (3) an optimum serum IGF-1 concentration threshold predictive of pregnancy to first artificial insemination (P/AI), including its diagnostic values; (4) the associations among categories of serum IGF-1 concentration and reproductive outcomes (P/AI and pregnancy risk up to 150 and 250 DPP); and (5) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with phenotypic variation in serum IGF-1 concentration in dairy cows. Serum IGF-1 concentration was determined at 7 (±2.4; ±standard error of the mean) DPP in 647 lactating Holstein cows (213 primiparous, 434 multiparous) from 7 herds in Alberta, Canada. The overall mean, median, minimum, and maximum serum IGF-1 concentrations during the first week postpartum were 37.8 (±1.23), 31.0, 20.0, and 225.0 ng/mL, respectively. Herd, age, parity, precalving body condition score, and season of blood sampling were all identified as factors associated with serum IGF-1 concentrations. Although serum IGF-1 concentration during the first week postpartum had no association with ovarian cyclicity status by 35 DPP in primiparous cows, it was greater in cyclic than in acyclic multiparous cows (32.2 vs. 27.4 ng/mL, respectively). The optimum serum IGF-1 thresholds predictive of P/AI were 85.0 ng/mL (sensitivity = 31.9%; specificity = 89.1%) and 31.0 ng/mL (sensitivity = 45.5%; specificity = 66.9%) for primiparous and multiparous cows, respectively. When cows were grouped into either high or low IGF-1 categories (greater or less than or equal to 85.0 ng/mL for primiparous cows and greater or less than or equal to 31.0 ng/mL for multiparous cows, respectively), primiparous cows with high IGF-1 had 4.43 times greater odds of P/AI and a tendency for higher pregnancy risk up to 150 DPP than those with low IGF-1, but not up to 250 DPP. Likewise, multiparous cows with high IGF-1 had 1.61 times greater odds of P/AI than those with low IGF-1. Pregnancy risk up to 150 and 250 DPP, however, did not differ between IGF-1 categories in multiparous cows. Moreover, 37 SNP across 10 Bos taurus autosomes were associated with variation in serum IGF-1 concentration, and 4 previously identified candidate genes related to fertility that were in linkage disequilibrium with some of these SNP were also identified.
    • Measuring labor input on pasture-based dairy farms using a smartphone

      Deming, J.; Gleeson, David E; O'Dwyer, T.; O'Brien, Bernadette; Kinsella, J.; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier, 2018-07-19)
      With the cessation of milk quotas in the European Union, dairy herd sizes increased in some countries, including Ireland, with an associated increase in labor requirement. Second to feed costs, labor has been identified as one of the highest costs on pasture-based dairy farms. Compared with other European Union countries, Ireland has historically had low milk production per labor unit; thus, optimization of labor efficiency on farm should be addressed before or concurrently with herd expansion. The objective of this study was to quantify current levels of labor input and labor efficiency on commercial pasture-based dairy farms and to identify the facilities and management practices associated with increased labor efficiency. Thirty-eight dairy farms of varying herd sizes, previously identified as labor-efficient farms, were enrolled on the study and data were collected over 3 consecutive days each month over a 12-mo period, starting in May 2015 and finishing in August of 2016. This was achieved through the use of a smartphone application. For analysis purposes, farms were categorized into 1 of 3 herd size categories (HSC): farms with <150 cows (HSC 1), 150–249 cows (HSC 2), or ≥250 cows (HSC 3). Overall farm labor input increased with HSC with 3,015, 4,499, and 6,023 h worked on HSC 1, 2, and 3, respectively. A higher proportion of work was carried out by hired staff as herd size increased. Labor efficiency was measured as total hours input to the dairy enterprise divided by herd size. Labor efficiency improved as herd size increased above 250 cows with 17.3 h/cow per yr observed for HSC 3; labor efficiency was similar for HSC 1 and 2, at 23.8 and 23.3 h/cow per yr, respectively. A large range of efficiency was observed within HSC. The labor requirements had a distinct seasonal pattern across the 3 HSC with the highest input observed in springtime (February to April) primarily due to calving and calf-care duties, milking, and winter feeding. The lowest input was observed in wintertime (November to January) when cows were dry. Particular facilities and management practices were associated with efficiency within certain tasks, the most notable in regard to milking and winter feeding practices. Additionally, the most efficient farms used contractors to perform a higher proportion of machinery work on farm than the least efficient farms.
    • A national methodology to quantify the diet of grazing dairy cows

      O'Brien, Donal; Moran, Brian; Shalloo, Laurence (Elsevier, 2018-07-04)
      The unique rumen of dairy cows allows them to digest fibrous forages and feedstuffs. Surprisingly, to date few attempts have been made to develop national methods to gain an understanding on the make-up of a dairy cow's diet, despite the importance of milk production. Consumer interest is growing in purchasing milk based on the composition of the cows' diet and the time they spend grazing. The goal of this research was to develop such a methodology using the national farm survey of Ireland as a data source. The analysis was completed for a 3-yr period from 2013 to 2015 on a nationally representative sample of 275 to 318 dairy farms. Trained auditors carried out economic surveys on farms 3 to 4 times per annum. The auditors collected important additional information necessary to estimate the diet of cows including the length of the grazing season, monthly concentrate feeding, type of forage(s) conserved, and milk production. Annual cow intakes were calculated to meet net energy requirements for production, maintenance, activity, pregnancy, growth, and live weight change using survey data and published literature. Our analysis showed that the average annual cow feed intake on a fresh matter basis ranged from 22.7 t in 2013 to 24.8 t in 2015 and from 4.8 to 5 t on a dry matter basis for the same period. Forage, particularly pasture, was the largest component of the Irish cow diet, typically accounting for 96% of the diet on a fresh matter basis and 82% of dry matter intake over the 3 yr. Within the cows' forage diet, grazed pasture was the dominant component and on average contributed 74 to 77% to the average annual cow fresh matter diet over the period. The proportion of pasture in the annual cow diet as fed was also identified as a good indicator of the time cows spend grazing (e.g., coefficient of determination = 0.85). Monthly, forage was typically the main component of the cow diet, but the average contribution of concentrate was substantial for the early spring months of January and February (30 to 35% of dry matter intake). Grazed pasture was the dominant source of forage from March to October and usually contributed 95 to 97% of the diet as fed in the summer period. Overall, the national farm survey from 2013 to 2015 shows that Irish dairy farms are very reliant on forage, particularly pasture, regardless of whether it is reported on a dry matter basis or as fed. There is potential to replicate this methodology in any regions or nations where representative farm surveys are conducted.
    • Bovine glycomacropeptide promotes the growth of Bifidobacterium longum ssp. infantis and modulates its gene expression

      O'Riordan, Noelle; O'Callaghan, J.; Buttò, L.F.; Kilcoyne, Michelle; Joshi, L.; Hickey, Rita M.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier, 2018-05-24)
      Bovine milk glycomacropeptide (GMP) is derived from κ-casein, with exclusively o-linked glycosylation. Glycomacropeptide promoted the growth of Bifidobacterium longum ssp. infantis in a concentration-dependent manner, and this activity was lost following periodate treatment of the GMP (GMP-P), which disables biological recognition of the conjugated oligosaccharides. Transcriptional analysis of B. longum ssp. infantis following exposure to GMP revealed a substantial response to GMP relative to bacteria treated with GMP-P, with a greater number of differentially expressed transcripts and larger fold changes versus the control. Therefore, stimulation of B. longum ssp. infantis growth by GMP is intrinsically linked to the peptide's O-linked glycosylation. The pool of differentially expressed transcripts included 2 glycoside hydrolase (family 25) genes, which were substantially upregulated following exposure to GMP, but not GMP-P. These GH25 genes were present in duplicated genomic islands that also contained genes encoding fibronectin type III binding domain proteins and numerous phage-related proteins, all of which were also upregulated. Homologs of this genomic arrangement were present in other Bifidobacterium species, which suggest it may be a conserved domain for the utilization of glycosylated peptides. This study provides insights into the molecular basis for the prebiotic effect of bovine milk GMP on B. longum ssp. infantis.
    • Effects of milk heat treatment and solvent composition on physicochemical and selected functional characteristics of milk protein concentrate

      Lin, Yingchen; Kelly, Alan L.; O’Mahony, James A.; Guinee, Timothy P.; Dairy Levy Trust Co-Operative Society Limited (Elsevier, 2018-05-24)
      Milk protein concentrate (MPC) powders (∼81% protein) were made from skim milk that was heat treated at 72°C for 15 s (LHMPC) or 85°C for 30 s (MHMPC). The MPC powder was manufactured by ultrafiltration and diafiltration of skim milk at 50°C followed by spray drying. The MPC dispersions (4.02% true protein) were prepared by reconstituting the LHMPC and MHMPC powders in distilled water (LHMPCw and MHMPCw, respectively) or milk permeate (LHMPCp and MHMPCp, respectively). Increasing milk heat treatment increased the level of whey protein denaturation (from ∼5 to 47% of total whey protein) and reduced the concentrations of serum protein, serum calcium, and ionic calcium. These changes were paralleled by impaired rennet-induced coagulability of the MHMPCw and MHMPCp dispersions and a reduction in the pH of maximum heat stability of MHMPCp from pH 6.9 to 6.8. For both the LHMPC and MHMPC dispersions, the use of permeate instead of water enhanced ethanol stability at pH 6.6 to 7.0, impaired rennet gelation, and changed the heat coagulation time and pH profile from type A to type B. Increasing the severity of milk heat treatment during MPC manufacture and the use of permeate instead of water led to significant reductions in the viscosity of stirred yogurt prepared by starter-induced acidification of the MPC dispersions. The current study clearly highlights how the functionality of protein dispersions prepared by reconstitution of high-protein MPC powders may be modulated by the heat treatment of the skim milk during manufacture of the MPC and the composition of the solvent used for reconstitution.
    • Characterization of best linear unbiased estimates generated from national genetic evaluations of reproductive performance, survival, and milk yield in dairy cows

      Dunne, F. L.; Kelleher, M. M.; Walsh, S.W.; Berry, Donagh P.; MultiRepro project; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Elsevier, 2018-05-16)
      Genetic evaluations decompose an observed phenotype into its genetic and nongenetic components; the former are termed BLUP with the solutions for the systematic environmental effects in the statistical model termed best linear unbiased estimates (BLUE). Geneticists predominantly focus on the BLUP and rarely consider the BLUE. The objective of this study, however, was to define and quantify the association between 8 herd-level characteristics and BLUE for 6 traits in dairy herds, namely (1) age at first calving, (2) calving to first service interval (CFS), (3) number of services, (4) calving interval (CIV), (5) survival, and (6) milk yield. Phenotypic data along with the fixed and random effects solutions were generated from the Irish national multi-breed dairy cow fertility genetic evaluations on 3,445,557 cows; BLUE for individual contemporary groups were collapsed into mean herd-year estimates. Data from 5,707 spring-calving herds between the years 2007 and 2016 inclusive were retained; association analyses were undertaken using linear mixed multiple regression models. Pearson coefficient correlations were used to quantify the relationships among individual trait herd-year BLUE, and transition matrices were used to understand the dynamics of mean herd BLUE estimates over years. Based on the mean annual trends in raw, BLUP, and BLUE, it was estimated that BLUE were associated with at least two-thirds of the improvement in CIV and milk production over the past 10 yr. Milk recording herds calved heifers for the first time on average 15 d younger, had an almost 2 d longer CFS but 2.3 d shorter CIV than non-milk-recording herds. Larger herd sizes were associated with worse BLUE for both CFS and CIV. Expanding herds and herds that had the highest proportion of cows born on the farm itself, on average, calved heifers younger and had shorter CIV. By separating the raw performance of a selection of herds into their respective BLUE and BLUP, it was possible to identify herds with inferior management practices that were being compensated by superior genetics; similarly, herds were identified with superior BLUE, but because of their inferior genetic merit, were not reaching their full potential. This suggests that BLUE could have a pivotal role in a tailored decision support tool that would enable producers to focus on the most limiting factor hindering them from achieving their maximum performance.
    • Prebiotics from Seaweeds: An Ocean of Opportunity?

      Cherry, Paul; Yadav, Supriya; Strain, Conall R.; Allsopp, Philip J.; McSorley, Emeir M.; Ross, R Paul; Stanton, Catherine; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; 13F511 (PREMARA) (MDPI, 2019-06-01)
      Abstract Seaweeds are an underexploited and potentially sustainable crop which offer a rich source of bioactive compounds, including novel complex polysaccharides, polyphenols, fatty acids, and carotenoids. The purported efficacies of these phytochemicals have led to potential functional food and nutraceutical applications which aim to protect against cardiometabolic and inflammatory risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and some cancers. Concurrent understanding that perturbations of gut microbial composition and metabolic function manifest throughout health and disease has led to dietary strategies, such as prebiotics, which exploit the diet-host-microbe paradigm to modulate the gut microbiota, such that host health is maintained or improved. The prebiotic definition was recently updated to “a substrate that is selectively utilised by host microorganisms conferring a health benefit”, which, given that previous discussion regarding seaweed prebiotics has focused upon saccharolytic fermentation, an opportunity is presented to explore how non-complex polysaccharide components from seaweeds may be metabolised by host microbial populations to benefit host health. Thus, this review provides an innovative approach to consider how the gut microbiota may utilise seaweed phytochemicals, such as polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and carotenoids, and provides an updated discussion regarding the catabolism of seaweed-derived complex polysaccharides with potential prebiotic activity. Additional in vitro screening studies and in vivo animal studies are needed to identify potential prebiotics from seaweeds, alongside untargeted metabolomics to decipher microbial-derived metabolites from seaweeds. Furthermore, controlled human intervention studies with health-related end points to elucidate prebiotic efficacy are required.
    • Analysis of Health Benefits Conferred by Lactobacillus Species from Kefir

      Cotter, Paul D.; Slattery, Conor; O'Toole, Paul W.; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; APC Microbiome Ireland; Vistamilk; Enterprise Ireland; European Union; 818368 (MDPI, 2019-06-01)
      Lactobacilli are among the most common microorganisms found in kefir; a traditional fermented milk beverage produced locally in many locations around the world. Kefir has been associated with a wide range of purported health benefits; such as antimicrobial activity; cholesterol metabolism; immunomodulation; anti-oxidative effects; anti-diabetic effects; anti-allergenic effects; and tumor suppression. This review critically examines and assesses these claimed benefits and mechanisms with regard to particular Lactobacillus species and/or strains that have been derived from kefir; as well as detailing further potential avenues for experimentation.