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Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority

Teagasc is a semi-state organisation providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the Irish agri-food sector. Research services are provided at nine dedicated centres. The personnel involved in WP4 are located in the Pig Production Development Unit (PPDU) and Moorepark Food Research Centre (MFRC), both located on the Moorepark campus in Fermoy in Co. Cork. The PPDU has a 275 sow integrated herd which generates 6,000 pigs per year, as well as its own feed mill and laboratory. The PPDU programme encompasses research on breed evaluation, nutrition, welfare, meat quality, pathogen control, nutrient management, as well as studies on bio-active food components (with MFRC), using the pig as a model for humans as well as a significant amount of client contract work. MFRC has an annual budget of ~€8.5m with 90 research and technical staff and 25 PhD students. Research themes include Food Safety, Food Quality, Food Processing and Functionality, Functional Foods and Animal Genomics and there is considerable industry interaction. MFRC contains modern well-equipped research and processing facilities, including a Biotechnology Centre which houses specialist state-of-the art equipment for molecular genetics, tissue culture, intestinal microbiology and immunology research, as well as a conference facility. The PPDU will be responsible for the pig-feeding experiments in WP4 and MFRC researchers will perform microbiological and molecular gut microbiota analysis and immunological analyses on samples generated from these trials. The centres are closely linked and have a long history of working together on multidisciplinary projects. This is evidenced by the number of co-authored publications generated by the team and previously successful joint grant applications. The techniques necessary to accomplish the tasks are well established within the PPDU/MFRC team. The PPDU is experienced in the management of production-related pig trials as well as trials exploiting the pig as a model for humans, while the MFRC researchers have considerable expertise in the areas of porcine intestinal microbiology and immunology.
 
WP leader

Dr. Peadar Lawlor (Senior Research Officer, PPDU) has over 16 years of research experience. His research interests include pig nutrition, meat quality, pre-natal factors affecting muscle development, Salmonella control and the pig as a model. Dr. Lawlor was a partner on the EU 5th framework programme SUSPORQUAL (effects of compensatory growth and breed on pig performance and eating quality of pig-meat). He is a country coordinator on the EU Specific Support Action ‘Attitudes, practices and state of the art regarding piglet castration in Europe (PIGCAS)’ and a management committee member of the EU COST 925 ‘The importance of prenatal events for postnatal muscle growth in relation to the quality of muscle-based food. He is also a co-investigator on many nationally funded projects. Dr. Lawlor will lead WP4.

Prof. Paul Ross (Head of Biotechnology, MFRC) co-ordinates research on antimicrobial peptides, anti-infectives, probiotics and milk bioactives. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed publications and is an inventor on 10 patents. He is Principal Investigator in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC; a virtual centre between University College Cork and Teagasc dedicated to gut health research). He has coordinated or been a (co-) principle investigator on numerous national, EU and US grants. Prof. Ross is a member of National (Food Safety Authority of Ireland) and International (EFSA) GMO and novel foods committees.
 
The team also includes one post doctoral scientist and one PhD student as well as PPDU technical and farm staff.

This study was funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-3) under grant agreement no.211820 and the Teagasc Walsh Fellowship programme and independently of any commercial input, financial or otherwise. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. None of the personnel involved had a financial or personal conflict of interest with regard to the present study.
 
Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Ireland