Dairy-cow herds in the UK and overseas, together with the dairy farming
industry, are benefiting from strategic animal-husbandry changes and
lameness-control programmes underpinned by research undertaken at the
University of Bristol since 1997. The dissemination by the UK Dairy Levy
Board of national Standardised Lameness Scores (the DairyCo
Mobility Scoring system, launched in 2008) and of Husbandry Advisory
Tools (the DairyCo Healthy Feet Programme, launched in 2011) was a
direct result of Bristol's work. It has led to the widespread adoption of
lameness scoring as a farm-management tool, the inclusion of lameness
assessment within certification schemes and a nationwide network of
trained `mobility mentors'. Where implemented, this advisory support has
resulted in a significant drop in lameness prevalence, thereby improving
welfare and reducing the economic losses associated with
treating and culling lame cows. Successful engagement with industry groups
throughout the research process has ensured that scientific outputs have
been rapidly implemented within the farming community. This approach has
been adopted internationally with the scoring system being used by
Europe's largest dairy company and a modified version is also being
promoted by the New Zealand dairy industry.
Research by Campbell & Euston (2001-present) into functional
properties of food proteins has enabled protein manufacturers to process
low-value protein ingredients into added value products such as fat
replacers. This allowed food manufacturers to make products with reduced
fat content and/or reduced "E-number" content ("clean-label" foods). The
research led to the set-up of Nandi Proteins Ltd to transfer the findings
to the market. It sells the products to end-use food producers such as
Premier Foods and Quorn, which use the technology to make their food more
appealing to customers by reducing fat content and e-numbers. The first
fat replacement product was launched by Friesland Campina which produced
protein using Nandi technology on a commercial scale, marketed as Hiprotal
60. The product was sold into the European dairy and formulated meat
products market. Sales of 200 tonnes per annum are claimed over between
2007-2011. Hiprotal 60 sold at £6 per kilo which equates to approximate
sales of £6M over the five year production period.
In the UK, one in seven dairy calves dies annually during rearing. Herd
profitability is reduced further by calfhood disease and suboptimal growth
rates, delaying age at first calving and reducing milk output. Professor
Claire Wathes's longstanding scientific interests in dairy cattle
reproduction and development have led to a broader farming industry
appreciation of this issue, and to new approaches that address the
economic loss and welfare issue it represents. Her results are now
incorporated into professional and practical advice from DairyCo (industry
levy board); Defra; farm veterinarians; commercial feed companies; opinion
leaders in dairy farming; and the specialist farming media.
The University of Nottingham (UoN) has developed two novel food-allowed
additives based upon xanthan gum. The generation of these structurally
modified forms allow xanthan to be used more efficiently in food
manufacturing applications and provide nutritional and health benefits.
The invention of the new xanthans benefits the global food industry by
facilitating new product development and formulation.
Fertility of dairy cows has been in decline since the 1970's and this has
threatened sustainability of the dairy industry worldwide. Research led by
Nottingham University (UoN) identified key drivers of fertility and
provided genetic and nutritional tools for the industry, to help combat
the decline. The genetic tool was the UK Fertility Index, which is used
universally by breeders for national and international bull selection. The
nutritional tool, which is widely applied by international feed companies,
used the concept that nutritional manipulation of insulin enhances
fertility. Evidence shows that use of these tools between 2008 and 2013
has reversed the decline, and fertility is being restored. This has
brought commercial benefits for breeding companies, cattle food producers
and farmers and had a positive impact upon animal welfare.
The University of Nottingham (UoN) has transferred an understanding of
how starchy foods are modified by processing, attained through working
with human foods, to the animal feed industry. The knowledge developed at
UoN and further advanced by co-operative programmes with industrial
partners, has enabled animal feed manufacturers to reformulate and modify
their production procedures to optimise manufacturing operations, increase
profitability and the nutritional quality of the feeds.
Research undertaken at the University of Manchester (UoM) has made an
important contribution to
the body of evidence that informed the decision in 2008 on non-renewal of
the milk quota in the
EU, and continues to inform this policy debate through research that both
economic gains inherent in the removal of the milk quota system, alongside
a thorough evaluation
of different scenarios for the quota's eventual withdrawal. The insights
gained from this analysis
are also informing EU policy discussion on the environmental impacts of
milk quota elimination.
A discovery that a tomato extract could help with healthy blood flow has
been translated into a functional food ingredient now marketed globally
via the spin-out company Provexis plc. Fruitflow® — Provexis' lead product
— is the result of findings by researchers at the Rowett Institute of
Nutrition and Health, now part of the University of Aberdeen, that
biologically active constituents in tomatoes inhibit blood platelet
aggregation: a known cause of heart attack, stroke and venous thrombosis.
In 2009 Fruitflow® was the first food ingredient to meet the requirements
of the European Food Safety Agency for products with a specific health
claim. Provexis — the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute spinout — is
listed on the AIM market — the London Stock Exchange's international
market for smaller growing companies — has seen values of £14 - £60
million and secured co-development agreements with major international
partners, including DSM, Unilever and Coca-Cola. This case study
demonstrates the direct translation of research to produce a functional
food ingredient of interest to global market players.
The claimed impact therefore relates to development of new product,
which has received the first ever novel health claim (Article 13.5) from
the European Food Safety Authority, and is being marketed as novel food
ingredient globally by a multinational company.
Our impact has been to protect the public by informing and influencing
both the international policy debate on health claims associated with soy
consumption, and the relevant regulatory risk assessment authorities.
Our research formed a key component of dossiers that resulted in the
rejection of health claims by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA,
the EU agency responsible for the scientific substantiation of health
claims) relating to soy isoflavones and a number of health endpoints
including bone health, heart health and menopausal symptoms. Earlier work
had underpinned decisions on comparable health claims in the US and UK.
Our soy isoflavone research also provided key scientific data on the
absorption of isoflavones by the body (and dependence on age and food
source) to the UK Government Committee on Toxicity (COT) policy review on
the toxicity of chemicals with a specific focus on soy infant formula.
This expands on COT advice in 2003, which used earlier Cassidy research
and helped to inform the UK government's (Food Standards Agency) research
programme on phytoestrogens /isoflavones.
Impact: Economic / animal health and welfare / environment:
Improved profitability and
sustainability of the UK dairy industry.
Significance: The use of the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI)
increased the profitability of the
dairy sector by an estimated £634M in 2008-2013 and reduced the greenhouse
from the sector by an estimated 8.4%.
Beneficiaries: Dairy producers, breeding companies, general
public/environment, dairy cattle
welfare and health.
Attribution: Drs Wall, Mrode (SRUC), and Brotherstone (UoE),
Profs. Coffey, Simm, Stott,
Veerkamp, Oldham (SRUC), and Woolliams (UoE/Roslin)
Reach: UK dairy industry. Tools developed, such as the routine
recording of body condition
score, and using these data in national genetic evaluations, have been
internationally, including in major dairy genetics exporting countries
such as the USA, Canada,
the Netherlands and New Zealand.