Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Plant-based strategies to improve the nutritional value of beef for the consumer (ProBeef) - FO0303

Description
This project will investigate key factors influencing the delivery of beneficial lipids from plants (forage) through to beef muscle. The project will examine the degree of variation in both total lipid and individual fatty acids in perennial ryegrass with a view to establishing the potential to breed grasses for a higher content of n-3 PUFA and hence the opportunity to deliver more n-3 PUFA into the animal and ultimately to man. Beef production experiments will examine the effect of "lifetime" nutritional feeding strategies and in particular length of time on “grass” and the inclusion of plant oils rich in stearidonic acid (n-3 PUFA) in the diet of beef cattle on the fatty acid composition of beef, colour shelf-life and sensory attributes of the meat. To compliment these studies, a series of experiments will examine the interactions between plant lipids, plant secondary metabolites, rumen microbial population and the major rumen lipid processes (lipolysis and biohydrogenation) which have a large effect on the ability to beneficially enhance the PUFA composition of beef. The impact of enriching the n-3 PUFA content of beef on atherosclerosis will be examined using an animal model species for this disease. This is a unique element of the project as it seeks to demonstrate the linkage between improving the nutritional value of beef and impact on cardiovascular disease, a major disease in man.

The project forms part of a larger EU project (Improving the safety of beef and beef products for the consumer in production and processing: ProSafeBeef; proposal number 036241-2) co-ordinated by Mr Declan Troy, Ashtown Food Centre, Dublin. The project was part of the fourth call under Framework VI (call identifier FP6-2004-FOOD-4-A) and commences on 1st March 2007. The overall objective of ProSafeBeef is to reduce microbiological and chemical contaminants in beef and beef products and to enhance quality, choice and diversity in the beef-chain in order to boost consumer trust and invigorate the industry. Output from the ProSafeBeef programme, in the form of annual reports, final reports, exploitation plans and relevant peer review publications and other literature will be made available to DEFRA and the MLC Devolved Bodies.
Objective
The overall objective is to investigate key factors influencing the delivery of beneficial lipids from plants (forage) through to beef muscle. The aim is to enhance the nutritional value of beef for the consumer by improving the content of beneficial fatty acids using safe and natural (forage) strategies.

The project has five main objectives:
1. To assess the degree of variation in both total lipid and individual fatty acids in perennial ryegrass and identify associated QTLs.
2. To examine interactions between plant components and events in the rumen (lipolysis and biohydrogenation) which determine the ability of different plants to manipulate the fatty acid composition of beef.
3. To assess the ability of plant-based strategies (based on PUFA-rich grasses) to produce beef with a fatty acid composition which is more consistent with current human health recommendations and consumer requirements, containing higher amounts of n-3-PUFA, CLA and lower levels of saturated fatty acids.
4. To assess the impact of strategies imposed in objective 3 on the fatty acid composition of beef, (including PUFA, CLA, trans-fatty acids) and colour shelf life and sensory attributes of beef and beef products.
5. To assess the impact of altering the fatty acid profile of beef lipids on plasma lipids and lipoproteins and the development of atherosclerosis in an animal model.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : ProBeefFinalReportMASTERplain txt   (844k)
• ANX - Annex : ProBeef Appendix 1   (505k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2012

Cost: £1,101,948
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University Wales, Aberystwyth, Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER)
Keywords
Cattle              
Farming              
Food Chain              
Food Quality              
Livestock Farming              
Meat Quality