Now showing items 41-60 of 2242

    • A Live Bio-Therapeutic for Mastitis, Containing Lactococcus lactis DPC3147 With Comparable Efficacy to Antibiotic Treatment

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

      Oriach, Clara Seira; Robertson, Ruairi C.; STANTON, CATHERINE; Cryan, John F.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board of Ireland; Sea Change Strategy; NutraMara programme; SMART FOOD project; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2016-04)
      Recent research has provided strong evidence for the role of the commensal gut microbiota in brain function and behaviour. Many potential pathways are involved in this bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and the brain such as immune mechanisms, the vagus nerve and microbial neurometabolite production. Dysbiosis of gut microbial function has been associated with behavioural and neurophysical deficits, therefore research focused on developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat psychiatric disorders by targeting the gut microbiota is rapidly growing. Numerous factors can influence the gut microbiota composition such as health status, mode of birth delivery and genetics, but diet is considered among the most crucial factors impacting on the human gut microbiota from infancy to old age. Thus, dietary interventions may have the potential to modulate psychiatric symptoms associated with gut–brain axis dysfunction. Further clinical and in vivo studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying the link between nutrition, gut microbiota and control of behaviour and mental health.
    • Fortified Blended Food Base: Effect of Co-Fermentation Time on Composition, Phytic Acid Content and Reconstitution Properties

      Shevade, Ashwini; O’Callaghan, Yvonne; O’Brien, Nora; O’Connor, Tom; Guinee, Timothy; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/F/805 (MDPI AG, 2019-09-03)
      Dehydrated blends of dairy-cereal combine the functional and nutritional properties of two major food groups. Fortified blended food base (FBFB) was prepared by blending fermented milk with parboiled wheat, co-fermenting the blend at 35 ◦C, shelf-drying and milling. Increasing co-fermentation time from 0 to 72 h resulted in powder with lower lactose, phytic acid and pH, and higher contents of lactic acid and galactose. Simultaneously, the pasting viscosity of the reconstituted base (16.7%, w/w, total solids) and its yield stress (σ0), consistency index (K) and viscosity on shearing decreased significantly. The changes in some characteristics (pH, phytic acid, η120) were essentially complete after 24 h co-fermentation while others (lactose, galactose and lactic acid, pasting viscosities, flowability) proceeded more gradually over 72 h. The reduction in phytic acid varied from 40 to 58% depending on the pH of the fermented milk prior to blending with the parboiled cereal. The reduction in phytic acid content of milk (fermented milk)-cereal blends with co-fermentation time is nutritionally desirable as it is conducive to an enhanced bioavailability of elements, such as Ca, Mg, Fe and Zn in milk-cereal blends, and is especially important where such blends serve as a base for fortified-blended foods supplied to food-insecure regions
    • Oligosaccharides Isolated from MGO™ Manuka Honey Inhibit the Adhesion of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia Coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus Aureus to Human HT-29 cells

      Lane, Johnathan A.; Calonne, Julie; Slattery, Helen; Hickey, Rita M. (MDPI AG, 2019-10-01)
      Historically, honey is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activities and its use for treatment of wound infections. Although this practice has been in place for millennia, little information exists regarding which manuka honey components contribute to the protective nature of this product. Given that sugar accounts for over 80% of honey and up to 25% of this sugar is composed of oligosaccharides, we have investigated the anti-infective activity of manuka honey oligosaccharides against a range of pathogens. Initially, oligosaccharides were extracted from a commercially-available New Zealand manuka honey—MGO™ Manuka Honey (Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd.)—and characterized by High pH anion exchange chromatography coupled with pulsed amperiometric detection. The adhesion of specific pathogens to the human colonic adenocarcinoma cell line, HT-29, was then assessed in the presence and absence of these oligosaccharides. Manuka honey oligosaccharides significantly reduced the adhesion of Escherichia coli O157:H7 (by 40%), Staphylococcus aureus (by 30%), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (by 52%) to HT-29 cells. This activity was then proven to be concentration dependent and independent of bacterial killing. This study identifies MGO™ Manuka Honey as a source of anti-infective oligosaccharides for applications in functional foods aimed at lowering the incidence of infectious diseases.
    • Online Prediction of Physico-Chemical Quality Attributes of Beef Using Visible—Near-Infrared Spectroscopy and Chemometrics

      Sahar, Amna; Allen, Paul; Sweeney, Torres; Cafferky, Jamie; Downey, Gerard; Cromie, Andrew; Hamill, Ruth; Department of Food, Agriculture and the Marine; 11/SF/311 (MDPI AG, 2019-10-23)
      The potential of visible–near-infrared (Vis–NIR) spectroscopy to predict physico-chemical quality traits in 368 samples of bovine musculus longissimus thoracis et lumborum (LTL) was evaluated. A fibre-optic probe was applied on the exposed surface of the bovine carcass for the collection of spectra, including the neck and rump (1 h and 2 h post-mortem and after quartering, i.e., 24 h and 25 h post-mortem) and the boned-out LTL muscle (48 h and 49 h post-mortem). In parallel, reference analysis for physico-chemical parameters of beef quality including ultimate pH, colour (L, a*, b*), cook loss and drip loss was conducted using standard laboratory methods. Partial least-squares (PLS) regression models were used to correlate the spectral information with reference quality parameters of beef muscle. Different mathematical pre-treatments and their combinations were applied to improve the model accuracy, which was evaluated on the basis of the coefficient of determination of calibration (R2C) and cross-validation (R2CV) and root-mean-square error of calibration (RMSEC) and cross-validation (RMSECV). Reliable cross-validation models were achieved for ultimate pH (R2CV: 0.91 (quartering, 24 h) and R2CV: 0.96 (LTL muscle, 48 h)) and drip loss (R2CV: 0.82 (quartering, 24 h) and R2CV: 0.99 (LTL muscle, 48 h)) with lower RMSECV values. The results show the potential of Vis–NIR spectroscopy for online prediction of certain quality parameters of beef over different time periods.
    • Ultrasound-Assisted Marination: Role of Frequencies and Treatment Time on the Quality of Sodium-Reduced Poultry Meat

      Inguglia, Elena Sofia; Burgess, Catherine; Kerry, Joseph P.; Tiwari, Brijesh K; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (MDPI AG, 2019-10-11)
      The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of high-power ultrasound (US) to accelerate marination of chicken breast; the effect of ultrasonic frequencies and marination times were investigated on samples containing full sodium levels (FS) or 25% sodium reduction, either by reducing NaCl (R50) or by its partial substitution with KCl (SR). Chicken breasts were marinated in plastic bags immersed in an ultrasonic bath operating with a frequency of 25, 45 or 130 kHz for 1, 3 or 6 h at a temperature of 2.5 ± 0.5 ◦C. Chicken marinated using US had a significantly higher uptake (p < 0.05) of sodium compared to control samples (no US) marinated for the same amount of time. No significant changes were observed in the quality parameters of sonicated chicken samples compared to controls. However, significant decreases (p < 0.05) in lipid oxidation were observed in SR samples when treated by US. These results suggest the use of ultrasound in the meat processing industry as a novel technology for enhancing marination processes and formulation of reduced sodium meat products.
    • The Effect of High Pressure Processing on Polyphenol Oxidase Activity, Phytochemicals and Proximate Composition of Irish Potato Cultivars

      Tsikrika, Konstantina; O’Brien, Nora; Rai, Dilip K.; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; 17/F/299 (MDPI AG, 2019-10-19)
      Polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity, proximate composition, and phytochemicals were determined in four common Irish potato cultivars following a high pressure processing (HPP) at 600 MPa for 3 min. PPO activity was significantly (p < 0.05) lower in all HPP treated samples, while the overall proximate composition was not affected. The total phenolic content was significantly higher in the HPP treated samples. Chlorogenic acid levels significantly decreased with simultaneous increase of caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid levels upon HPP treatment. No significant changes were observed in rutin and ferulic acid levels, although their levels varied, depending on the potato cultivars, while the levels of cytotoxic glycoalkaloids (α-solanine and α-chaconine) remained unaltered.
    • Effect of Diet on the Vitamin B Profile of Bovine Milk-Based Protein Ingredients

      Magan, Jonathan B.; O’Callaghan, Tom F.; Zheng, Jiamin; Zhang, Lun; Mandal, Rupasri; Hennessy, Deirdre; Fenelon, Mark; Wishart, David S.; Kelly, Alan L.; McCarthy, Noel; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-05-04)
      The influence of diet on the water-soluble vitamin composition of skim milk powder and whey protein ingredients produced from the milk of cows fed pasture or concentrate-based diets was examined. Fifty-one Holstein-Friesian cows were randomly assigned into three diets (n = 17) consisting of outdoor grazing of perennial ryegrass (GRS), perennial ryegrass/white clover (CLV), or indoor feeding of total mixed ration (TMR) for an entire lactation. Raw mid-lactation milk from each group was processed into skim milk powder and further processed to yield micellar casein whey and acid whey. Sweet whey was also produced by renneting of pasteurised whole milk from each system. The water-soluble vitamin profile of each sample was analysed using a combination of direct injection mass spectrometry and reverse-phase liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. Vitamin B3 and B3-amide concentrations were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in TMR-derived samples than in those from CLV and GRS, respectively. Vitamin B1, B2, and B7 concentrations were significantly higher in GRS and CLV-derived samples than those from TMR. Significant differences in vitamins B1, B2, and B3-amide were also observed between protein ingredient types. This study indicates that bovine feeding systems have a significant effect on B vitamin composition across a range of protein ingredient types.
    • Biogeography of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal spore traits along an aridity gradient, and responses to experimental rainfall manipulation

      Deveautour, Coline; Chieppa, Jeff; Nielsen, Uffe N.; Boer, Matthias M.; Mitchell, Christopher; Horn, Sebastian; Power, Sally A.; Guillen, Alberto; Bennett, Alison E.; Powell, Jeff R.; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-08)
      Spore size, colour and melanin content are hypothesised to be functional in relation to environmental stress. Here, we studied AM fungal spores in arid environments of Australia and in an experimental platform simulating altered rainfall. We used microscopy and image analysis to measure spore colour and size, and a quantitative colorimetric assay to estimate melanin content in spores. In arid sites, melanin content tended to increase with increasing aridity. We observed a large range of spore colours at all sites but found a higher proportion of both dark and light spores, and fewer intermediate colours, in drier sites. Spore abundance and size varied among sites, but neither were related to aridity. In the experimental platform established in a grassland, we found no evidence that altered rainfall influenced spore traits. This study identifies traits associated with environmental stress to inform future work into AM fungal life history and assembly processes.
    • A standardised static in vitro digestion method suitable for food – an international consensus

      Minekus, M.; Alminger, M.; Alvito, P.; Ballance, S.; Bohn, T.; Bourlieu, C.; Carrière, F.; Boutrou, R.; Corredig, M.; Dupont, D.; et al. (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2014-04-07)
      Simulated gastro-intestinal digestion is widely employed in many fields of food and nutritional sciences, as conducting human trials are often costly, resource intensive, and ethically disputable. As a consequence, in vitro alternatives that determine endpoints such as the bioaccessibility of nutrients and non-nutrients or the digestibility of macronutrients (e.g. lipids, proteins and carbohydrates) are used for screening and building new hypotheses. Various digestion models have been proposed, often impeding the possibility to compare results across research teams. For example, a large variety of enzymes from different sources such as of porcine, rabbit or human origin have been used, differing in their activity and characterization. Differences in pH, mineral type, ionic strength and digestion time, which alter enzyme activity and other phenomena, may also considerably alter results. Other parameters such as the presence of phospholipids, individual enzymes such as gastric lipase and digestive emulsifiers vs. their mixtures (e.g. pancreatin and bile salts), and the ratio of food bolus to digestive fluids, have also been discussed at length. In the present consensus paper, within the COST Infogest network, we propose a general standardised and practical static digestion method based on physiologically relevant conditions that can be applied for various endpoints, which may be amended to accommodate further specific requirements. A frameset of parameters including the oral, gastric and small intestinal digestion are outlined and their relevance discussed in relation to available in vivo data and enzymes. This consensus paper will give a detailed protocol and a line-by-line, guidance, recommendations and justifications but also limitation of the proposed model. This harmonised static, in vitro digestion method for food should aid the production of more comparable data in the future.
    • A bio-economic model for cost analysis of alternative management strategies in beef finishing systems

      Kamilaris, C.; Dewhurst, R.J.; Vosough Ahmadi, B.; Crosson, Paul; Alexander, P.; SRUC PhD studentship; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Scottish Government (Elsevier BV, 2019-10-26)
      Global population growth together with rising incomes is increasing the demand for meat-based products. This increases the need to optimize livestock production structures, whilst ensuring viable returns for the farmers. On a global scale, beef producers need tools to assist them to produce more high-quality products whilst maintaining economic efficiency. The Grange Scottish Beef Model (GSBM) was customized to simulate beef finishing enterprises using data from Scottish beef finishing studies, as well as agricultural input and output price datasets. Here we describe the model and its use to determine the cost-effectiveness of alternative current management practices (e.g. forage- and cereal-based finishing) and slaughter ages (i.e. short, medium or long finishing duration). To better understand drivers of profitability in beef finishing systems, several scenarios comparing finishing duration, gender, genetic selection of stock for growth rate or feed efficiency, as well as financial support were tested. There are opportunities for profitable and sustainable beef production in Scotland, for both cereal and forage based systems, particularly when aiming for a younger age profile at slaughtering. By careful choice of finishing systems matched to animal potential, as well as future selection of high performing and feed efficient cattle, beef finishers will be able to enhance performance and increase financial returns.
    • Dairy cow feeding system alters the characteristics of low-heat skim milk powder and processability of reconstituted skim milk

      Gulati, Arunima; Hennessy, Deirdre; O'Donovan, Michael; McManus, Jennifer J.; Fenelon, Mark; Guinee, Timothy P.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Dairy Levy Trust Co-Operative Society Limited; 11/sf/309 (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2019-08-01)
      Low-heat skim milk powder (LHSMP) was manufactured on 3 separate occasions in mid lactation (ML, July 4–20) and late lactation (LL, September 27 to October 7) from bulk milk of 3 spring-calving dairy herds on different feeding systems: grazing on perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) pasture (GRO), grazing on perennial ryegrass and white clover (Trifolium repens L.) pasture (GRC), and housed indoors and offered total mixed ration (TMR). The resultant powders (GRO-SMP, GRC-SMP, and TMR-SMP) were evaluated for composition and color and for the compositional, physicochemical, and processing characteristics of the reconstituted skim milk (RSM) prepared by dispersing the powders to 10% (wt/wt) in water. Feeding system significantly affected the contents of protein and lactose, the elemental composition, and the color of the LHSMP, as well as the rennet gelation properties of the RSM. The GRO and GRC powders had a higher protein content; lower levels of lactose, iodine, and selenium; and a more yellow-green color (lower a* and higher b* color coordinates) than TMR powder. On reconstitution, the GRO-RSM had higher concentrations of protein, casein, and ionic calcium, and lower concentrations of lactose and nonprotein nitrogen (% of total N). It also produced rennet gels with a higher storage modulus (G′) than the corresponding TMR-RSM. These effects were observed over the combined ML and LL period but varied somewhat during the separate ML and LL periods. Otherwise, feeding system had little or no effect on proportions of individual caseins, concentration of serum casein, casein micelle size, casein hydration, heat coagulation time, or ethanol stability of the RSM at pH 6.2 to 7.2, or on the water-holding capacity, viscosity, and flow behavior of stirred yogurt prepared by starter-induced acidification of RSM. The differences in the functionality of the LHSMP may be of greater or lesser importance depending on the application and the conditions applied during the processing of the RSM.
    • Draft Genome Sequences of the Type Strains of Six Macrococcus Species

      Mazhar, Shahneela; Altermann, Eric; Hill, Colin; McAuliffe, Olivia; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2015055 (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-05-09)
      We report here the draft genome sequences of Macrococcus bovicus ATCC 51825T, Macrococcus carouselicus ATCC 51828T, Macrococcus equipercicus ATCC 51831T, Macrococcus brunensis CCM4811T, Macrococcus hajekii CCM4809T, and Macrococcus lamae CCM4815T. The availability of the genome sequences of these species will enable cross-species comparison, which could lead to a more comprehensive understanding of organisms of the Macrococcus genus.
    • Vangl2 disruption alters the biomechanics of late spinal neurulation leading to spina bifida in mouse embryos

      Galea, Gabriel L.; Nychyk, Oleksandr; Mole, Matteo A.; Moulding, Dale; Savery, Dawn; Nikolopoulou, Evanthia; Henderson, Deborah J.; Greene, Nicholas D. E.; Copp, Andrew J. (The Company of Biologists, 2018-03-12)
      Human mutations in the planar cell polarity component VANGL2 are associated with the neural tube defect spina bifida. Homozygous Vangl2 mutation in mice prevents initiation of neural tube closure, precluding analysis of its subsequent roles in neurulation. Spinal neurulation involves rostral-to-caudal ‘zippering’ until completion of closure is imminent, when a caudal-to-rostral closure point, ‘Closure 5’, arises at the caudal-most extremity of the posterior neuropore (PNP). Here, we used Grhl3Cre to delete Vangl2 in the surface ectoderm (SE) throughout neurulation and in an increasing proportion of PNP neuroepithelial cells at late neurulation stages. This deletion impaired PNP closure after the ∼25-somite stage and resulted in caudal spina bifida in 67% of Grhl3Cre/+Vangl2Fl/Fl embryos. In the dorsal SE, Vangl2 deletion diminished rostrocaudal cell body orientation, but not directional polarisation of cell divisions. In the PNP, Vangl2 disruption diminished mediolateral polarisation of apical neuroepithelial F-actin profiles and resulted in eversion of the caudal PNP. This eversion prevented elevation of the caudal PNP neural folds, which in control embryos is associated with formation of Closure 5 around the 25-somite stage. Closure 5 formation in control embryos is associated with a reduction in mechanical stress withstood at the main zippering point, as inferred from the magnitude of neural fold separation following zippering point laser ablation. This stress accommodation did not happen in Vangl2-disrupted embryos. Thus, disruption of Vangl2-dependent planar-polarised processes in the PNP neuroepithelium and SE preclude zippering point biomechanical accommodation associated with Closure 5 formation at the completion of PNP closure.
    • The ability of Listeria monocytogenes to form biofilm on surfaces relevant to the mushroom production environment

      Dygico, Lionel Kenneth; Gahan, Cormac G.M.; Grogan, Helen; Burgess, Catherine; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14F881 (Elsevier BV, 2020-03-16)
      Due to its ubiquitous nature, Listeria monocytogenes is a threat to all fresh fruits and vegetables, including mushrooms, which are Ireland's largest horticultural crop. Although fresh cultivated mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) have not been previously linked with listeriosis outbreaks, the pathogen still poses a threat to the industry, particularly due to its ability to form biofilms. This threat is highlighted by the multiple recalls of mushroom products caused by L. monocytogenes contamination and by previous studies demonstrating that L. monocytogenes is present in the mushroom production environment. In this study, the biofilm formation potential of L. monocytogenes strains isolated from the mushroom production environment was investigated on materials and at temperatures relevant to mushroom production. A preliminary assessment of biofilm formation of 73 mushroom industry isolates was undertaken using a crystal violet assay on polystyrene microtitre plates. The biofilm formation of a subset (n = 7) of these strains was then assessed on twelve different materials, including materials that are representative of the materials commonly found in the mushroom production environments, using the CDC biofilm reactor. Vertical scanning interferometry was used to determine the surface roughness of the chosen materials. All the strains tested using the CDC biofilm reactor were able to form biofilms on the different surfaces tested but material type was found to be a key determining factor on the levels of biofilm formed. Stainless steel, aluminium, rubber, polypropylene and polycarbonate were all able to support biofilm levels in the range of 4–4.9 log10 CFU/cm2, for seven different L. monocytogenes strains. Mushroom industry-specific materials, including growing nets and tarpaulins, were found to support biofilms levels between 4.7 and 6.7 log10 CFU/cm2. Concrete was found to be of concern as it supported 7.7 log10 CFU/cm2 of biofilm for the same strains; however, sealing the concrete resulted in an approximately 2-log reduction in biofilm levels. The surface roughness of the materials varied greatly between the materials (0.7–3.5 log10 Ra) and was found to have a positive correlation with biofilm formation (rs = 0.573) although marginally significant (P = 0.051). The results of this study indicate that L. monocytogenes can readily form biofilms on mushroom industry relevant surfaces, and additionally identifies surfaces of specific concern, where rigorous cleaning and disinfection is required.
    • Draft Genome Sequences of Macrococcus caseolyticus, Macrococcus canis, Macrococcus bohemicus, and Macrococcus goetzii

      Mazhar, Shahneela; Altermann, Eric; Hill, Colin; McAuliffe, Olivia; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2015055 (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-05-09)
      Here, we present the draft genome sequences of 14 strains of 4 species of the genus Macrococcus. These strains were isolated from bovine milk and tongue samples obtained during a screening program.
    • Genome Sequence of Geobacillus stearothermophilus DSM 458, an Antimicrobial-Producing Thermophilic Bacterium, Isolated from a Sugar Beet Factory

      Egan, Kevin; Kelleher, Philip; Field, Des; Rea, Mary; Ross, R Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Hill, Colin; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; DAFM 13/F/462; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2017-10-26)
      This paper reports the full genome sequence of the antimicrobial-producing bacterium Geobacillus stearothermophilus DSM 458, isolated in a sugar beet factory in Austria. In silico analysis reveals the presence of a number of novel bacteriocin biosynthetic genes.
    • Cervico-vaginal mucus (CVM) – an accessible source of immunologically informative biomolecules

      Adnane, Mounir; Meade, Kieran G; O’Farrelly, Cliona; Science Foundation Ireland; Health Research Board; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 12/Ia/1667; HRA_POR/2012/37; FIRM/ RSF/CoFoRD 2013–2016: ENRICH; FIRM/RSF/CoFoRD 2011-2015 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018-08-16)
      Cervico-vaginal mucus (CVM), the product of epithelial cells lining the uterus, cervix and vagina, is secreted to facilitate uterine lubrication and microbial clearance. Predominantly composed of water and mucins, CVM also contains high levels of immuno-active proteins such as immunoglobulin A (IgA), lactoferrin and lysozyme which protect against infection by blocking adhesion and mediating microbial killing. The repertoire of cytokines, chemokines and antimicrobial peptides is predominantly generated by the secretions of endometrial epithelial cells into the uterine lumen and concentrated in the CVM. The quantity and relative proportions of these inflammatory biomarkers are affected by diverse factors including the estrus cycle and health status of the animal and therefore potentially provide important diagnostic and prognostic indicators. We propose that measuring molecular signatures in bovine CVM could be a useful approach to identifying and monitoring genital tract pathologies in beef and dairy cows.
    • Investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying tetracycline resistance in thermophilic Campylobacter spp. suggests that previous reports of tet(A)-mediated resistance in these bacteria are premature

      Lynch, Caoimhe; Hawkins, Kayleigh; Lynch, Helen; Egan, John; Bolton, Declan; Coffey, Aidan; Lucey, Brigid; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Ref. 15/F/641; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-11-09)
      The true prevalence of tet(A), which codes for a tetracycline efflux pump, in thermophilic Camplyobacter spp. requires clarification after reports emerged in Iran (2014) and Kenya (2016) of the novel detection of tet(A) in Campylobacter. During our investigation of antibiotic resistance mechanisms in a sample of Irish thermophilic Campylobacter broiler isolates, it was determined that 100% of tetracycline-resistant isolates (n = 119) harboured tet(O). Accessory tetracycline-resistance mechanisms were considered as tetracycline minimum inhibitory concentrations ranged from 4 to ≥ 64 mg/L. Primers previously reported for the detection of tet(A) in Campylobacter failed to produce an amplicon using a positive control strain (Escherichia coli K12 SK1592 containing the pBR322 plasmid) and a selection of Campylobacter isolates. Accordingly, we designed new tet(A)-targeting primers on SnapGene2.3.2 that successfully generated a 407 bp product from the positive control strain only. Further in silico analysis using BLASTn and SnapGene2.3.2 revealed that previously reported Campylobacter tet(A) sequences deposited on GenBank shared 100% homology with Campylobacter tet(O). We postulate that this gave rise to the erroneous report of a high tet(A) prevalence among a pool of Kenyan broiler Campylobacter isolates that were tested using primers designed based on these apparent tet(A) sequences. In conclusion, further work would be required to determine whether the homology between tet(A) potentially present in Campylobacter and known tet(A) genes would be sufficient to allow amplification using the primers designed in our study. Finally, the existence of tet(A) in thermophilic Campylobacter spp. remains to be demonstrated.
    • Pig farmers’ willingness to pay for management strategies to reduce aggression between pigs

      Peden, Rachel S. E.; Akaichi, Faical; Camerlink, Irene; Boyle, Laura; Turner, Simon P.; Scotland’s Rural College (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2019-11-08)
      When deciding whether to invest in an improvement to animal welfare, farmers must trade-off the relative costs and benefits. Despite the existence of effective solutions to many animal welfare issues, farmers’ willingness to pay for them is largely unknown. This study modelled pig farmers’ decisions to improve animal welfare using a discrete choice experiment focused on alleviating aggression between growing/finishing pigs at regrouping. Eighty-two UK and Irish pig farm owners and managers were asked to choose between hypothetical aggression control strategies described in terms of four attributes; installation cost, on-going cost, impact on skin lesions from aggression and impact on growth rate. If they did not like any of the strategies they could opt to keep their current farm practice. Systematic variations in product attributes allowed farmers’ preferences and willingness to pay to be estimated and latent class modelling accounted for heterogeneity in responses. The overall willingness to pay to reduce lesions was low at £0.06 per pig place (installation cost) and £0.01 per pig produced (running cost) for each 1% reduction in lesions. Results revealed three independent classes of farmers. Farmers in Class 1 were unlikely to regroup unfamiliar growing/finishing pigs, and thus were unwilling to adopt measures to reduce aggression at regrouping. Farmers in Classes 2 and 3 were willing to adopt measures providing certain pre-conditions were met. Farmers in Class 2 were motivated mainly by business goals, whilst farmers in Class 3 were motivated by both business and animal welfare goals, and were willing to pay the most to reduce aggression; £0.11 per pig place and £0.03 per pig produced for each 1% reduction in lesions. Farmers should not be considered a homogeneous group regarding the adoption of animal welfare innovations. Instead, campaigns should be targeted at subgroups according to their independent preferences and willingness to pay.