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Newbridge, United Kingdom

Crossan C.,Glasgow Caledonian University | Grierson S.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency | Thomson J.,Scottish Agricultural College Consulting Veterinary Services | Ward A.,Rural Center | And 3 more authors.
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2015

The prevalence of anti-HEV isotype-specific antibodies and viraemia were investigated in serum samples collected from slaughter-age pigs (aged 22-24 weeks) from 23 farms in Scotland. Of 176 serum samples tested, 29·0% (n = 51) were anti-HEV IgG positive, 36·9% (n = 65) anti-HEV IgA positive and 29·0% (n = 51) anti-HEV IgM positive. Overall seroprevalence (anti-HEV IgG+ and/or IgA+ and/or IgM+) was 61·4% (n = 108). HEV RNA was detected in 72/162 serum samples (44·4%). Partial sequence of ORF2 (98 nt) was obtained from eight HEV RNA-positive samples and phylogenetic analysis confirmed that they were all of genotype 3. This is the first report on the prevalence of HEV in pigs in Scotland. Given the increasing incidence of locally acquired HEV infection in the UK, evidence that HEV is a foodborne zoonosis emphasizes the need for surveillance in pigs. © 2014 Cambridge University Press.

Clelland N.,Scotland's Rural College | Bunger L.,Scotland's Rural College | McLean K.A.,Scotland's Rural College | Conington J.,Scotland's Rural College | And 3 more authors.
Meat Science | Year: 2014

For the consumer, tenderness, juiciness and flavour are often described as the most important factors for meat eating quality, all of which have a close association with intramuscular fat (IMF).X-ray computed tomography (CT) can measure fat, muscle and bone volumes and weights, in vivo in sheep and CT predictions of carcass composition have been used in UK sheep breeding programmes over the last few decades. This study aimed to determine the most accurate combination of CT variables to predict IMF percentage of M. longissimus lumborum in Texel lambs. As expected, predicted carcass fat alone accounted for a moderate amount of the variation (R2=0.51) in IMF. Prediction accuracies were significantly improved (Adj R2>0.65) using information on fat and muscle densities measured from three CT reference scans, showing that CT can provide an accurate prediction of IMF in the loin of purebred Texel sheep. © 2014.

Donaldson C.L.,Scotland's Rural College | Lambe N.R.,Scotland's Rural College | Maltin C.A.,Rural Center | Knott S.,University of Edinburgh | Bunger L.,Scotland's Rural College
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2014

Previous work showed that the Texel muscling QTL (TM-QTL) results in pronounced hypertrophy in the loin muscle, with the largest phenotypic effects observed in lambs inheriting a single copy of the allele from the sire. As the loin runs parallel to the spinal vertebrae, and the development of muscle and bone are closely linked, the primary aim of this study was to investigate if there were any subsequent associations between TM-QTL inheritance and underlying spine characteristics (vertebrae number, VN; spine region length, SPL; average length of individual vertebrae, VL) of the thoracic, lumbar, and thoracolumbar spine regions. Spine characteristics were measured from X-ray computed tomography (CT) scans for 142 purebred Texel lambs which had been previously genotyped. Least-squares means were significantly different between genotype groups for lumbar and thoracic VN and lumbar SPL. Similarly for these traits, contrasts were shown to be significant for particular modes of gene action but overall were inconclusive. In general, the results showed little evidence that spine trait phenotypes were associated with differences in loin muscling associated with the different TM-QTL genotypes. © 2013.

Donaldson C.L.,Scotland's Rural College | Lambe N.R.,Scotland's Rural College | Maltin C.A.,Rural Center | Knott S.,University of Edinburgh | Bunger L.,Scotland's Rural College
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2013

Implementing the use of spine traits in a commercial breeding program has been seen to improve meat production from the carcass of larger-bodied pigs. The aim of this study was to assess the extent of variation in spine characteristics within and between breeds of sheep and to investigate the association with body length and tissues traits to deliberate if a similar approach could be applicable in the sheep sector. Spine traits (vertebrae number, VN; spine region length, SPL; individual vertebra length, VL) of the thoracic (THOR) lumbar (LUM) and thoracolumbar (T+L) spine regions were measured using x-ray computed tomography (CT) on 254 Texel (TEX), 1100 Scottish Blackface (SBF), 326 Texel cross Mule (TEX × MULE), and 178 Poll Dorset cross Mule (PD × MULE) lambs. Simple descriptive statistics inform that variation in thoracolumbar VN exists within all breeds and crosses; TEX animals showed the largest range of variation in thoracolumbar VN (17 to 21) and the TEX × MULE the smallest (18 to 20). Significant differences were not observed between sexes, but did occur between breeds (P < 0.05), which is indicative of a genetic basis for these traits. Least-squares means identified that TEX had the least thoracolumbar VN (19.24) and SBF possessed the most (19.63); similarly the lowest measures for SPL and VL for each spine region were observed in TEX, but the greatest values for these traits were expressed predominantly in the crosses (TEX × MULE and PD × MULE). Correlation coefficients (r) within each breed or cross support the interpretation of additional vertebrae contributing to a longer length of the spine region in which they occur (P < 0.001; e.g., for PD × MULE lambs), r between traits VNTHOR and SPLTHOR (r = 0.59), VNLUM and SPLLUM (r = 0.94) and VNT+L and SPLT+L (r = 0.65) all reach moderate to very high values. In all breeds and crosses, this relationship is particularly strong for the lumbar region. The few significant (P < 0.05) correlations observed between spine and tissue traits [CT-predicted quantities of carcass fat and muscle (kg) and area of the LM (mm2)] indicated no substantial relationships, r was small (ranging from -0.25 to 0.19) in each case. To conclude, significant vertebral variation exists within and between sheep breeds and crosses, which can contribute to an increase in body (and carcass) length. Including measurements taken for other primal cuts will further aid in assessing any potential increase in meat production from these longer-bodied sheep. © 2013 American Society of Animal Science.

Hough R.L.,Macaulay Institute | Crews C.,UK Environment Agency | White D.,Macaulay Institute | Driffield M.,UK Environment Agency | And 2 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2010

Recent concerns have been raised that plants such as ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), yew (Taxus baccata) and rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) that are toxic to livestock may be included in compost windrows but may not be fully detoxified by the composting process. This study investigates the decomposition during composting of toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids present in ragwort, taxines (A and B) present in yew, and grayanotoxins (GTX I, II, and III) present in rhododendron during composting. Plant samples were contained within microporous bags either towards the edge or within the centre of a pilot-scale compost heap. They were destructively harvested at regular intervals over 1200°C cumulative temperature (about three months). Samples were analysed for levels of toxins by liquid chromatography time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-TOF-MS). Pyrrolizidine alkaloids and taxines were shown to degrade completely during the composting process. While GTX I showed significant reductions, concentrations of GTX III remained unchanged after 1200°C cumulative temperature. However, estimates of exposure to grazing livestock coming into contact with source-segregated green waste compost containing up to 7% rhododendron suggest that GTX III poses no appreciable risk. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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