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Events: my take-home message

Teagasc’s researchers attend many events throughout the year, sharing the findings from their research with national and international audiences.

Teagasc’s researchers attend many events throughout the year, sharing the findings from their research with national and international audiences. Here, we capture the take-home messages – key pieces of information that our researchers want people to remember – from recent events.

Data-driven GHG inventories

Event: EAAE Congress, Rennes, France

Date: 29 August to 1 September 2023

 The agricultural sector in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) accounts for 37.5% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and 99.4% of total ammonia (NH₃) emissions. National inventory-based estimations of GHG and NH₃ emissions are a function of activity data multiplied by an associated emission factor. The emissions factors used rely on scientific experiments to provide estimates of emissions from animals, chemical fertilisers or manure management practice at different levels of granularity.

Cathal Buckley, a Senior Research Officer in Teagasc’s Agricultural Economics and Farm Survey Department, explains: “In the ROI we tend to rely on aggregate-level activity data for national inventory accounting purposes. However, this doesn’t exist in relation to important farm-level activity data that can influence GHG and NH₃ emissions. For example, how animal manure is stored, the method of storage, the duration animals are housed versus grazing outdoors and when and how slurry manure is applied can all have a significant impact on GHG and NH₃ emissions.” Cathal was speaking at the European Association of Agricultural Economists 2023 conference recently about how Teagasc is using Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) data to obtain better calculation of actual emissions that have been used to inform the national inventories.

Cathal says: “Until recent times, a farm survey dating back to 2003 for manure management activity data was used for activity data in this area. This research uses Teagasc NFS data to generate updated manure management activity data for modelling national GHG and NH₃ inventories and explores the changes in emissions associated with its use. Results indicated NH₃ emissions are between 7 to 18% lower (between 2017-2121) by using the updated activity data, results are less conclusive for GHG emissions.”

Cathal Buckley’s poster on the use of the National Farm Survey for calculating GHG emissions received great interest

GIANT LEAPS in reshaping nutrition

Event: EU GIANT LEAPS meeting, Barcelona, Spain

Date: 6 to 8 September 2023

 The footprint of our food system can shrink as consumers move from animal-based proteins to alternative food proteins— what experts call the dietary shift. The EU-funded project GIANT LEAPS aims to support and accelerate this dietary shift by generating tangible scientific information on palatable, safe, sustainable and nutritious alternative protein sources.

One year done, three more to go! GIANT LEAPS is now fully operational and the first project review took place in Barcelona, Spain, recently.

 Teagasc researchers André Brodkorb and Linda Giblin are leading the largest work package, Digestion and Health, with an international team of researchers, post doctorates and PhD students from seven countries across four continents. To date, 20 ingredients from eight protein sources were tested: microalgae, rapeseed, oats, fava beans, lentils, chickpeas, crickets and microbial proteins. Ever Hernandez Olivas, a post-doctorate scientist based in the Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, who also attended, explains: “We simulated the gastro-intestinal digestion of proteins in the laboratory. The digestibility can vary greatly from protein to protein. Animal-derived proteins are of high quality and generally highly digestible, i.e. over 95% of the consumed protein is absorbed and utilised by the human body.”

Ever elaborates: “Some of the tested protein have a digestibility as low as 60% and may also be deficient in some essential amino acids, which would make it a poor quality protein source.” Teagasc researchers, along with their GIANT LEAPS collaborators, aim to improve the quality of these proteins and compile the information as a nutritional passport for each protein source.


Attendees at the GIANT LEAPS meeting in Spain


Don’t miss out on Teagasc’s upcoming events! Visit our website to see what we have planned: www.teagasc.ie