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Everyday Experimenting - Science Week at Teagasc

'How clean are your hands? Demystifying DNA. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions.'

These are some of the many topics that over 1,000 second-level students will get the opportunity to investigate, including many hands-on experiments, at Teagasc’s Science Week events around the country this week.

Carlow: ‘Potatoes get sick too’, Dr Stephen Kildea, Teagasc Crops, Environment and Land Use Research Centre, Oak Park, Carlow talks to primary-level students from Gaelscoil Eoghain Ui Thuairisc about the science of the potato at Carlow library on November 12 as part of the library’s Science Week speaker series.

Cork: Students visiting Teagasc Moorepark on November 13 will hear how probiotic bacteria work to fight off bad bacteria and how examining their DNA helps. They will also see how cream is separated and butter and buttermilk are made.

Students will check milk samples for mastitis by checking somatic cell counts. They will get to see how drafting gates work in a milking parlour and how they can help farmers manage large numbers of animals. Students will also learn about ruminant nutrition, methane emissions, automation in milking, the importance of grassland measurement and management, and calf rearing.

Dublin: UV light detectors check just how clean hands are and stress the importance of good hand washing at the Food Safety Department, Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown on November 13. ‘Fungi: the good, the bad and the weird!’ will be presented by the Horticultural Development Unit, and students will get a chance to grow their own fungal zoo. Students will perform sensory analysis on foods and they will also get a chance to take part in a focus group to come up with advice for our policy makers with the Food Marketing Unit. In the Food Biosciences Department students will learn that the marine environment is a rich source of plants and animals and the biodiversity of plants and animals found in the Irish seas is great, and thus holds great potential for the development of marine-origin functional foods.

Galway: At Teagasc Athenry on November 13 there will be a series of practical experiments and students will see how science is being used to address issues related to reproduction and parasitism in sheep - specifically methods for investigating parasite infection and resistance to anthelmintics. Students will view alternative sheep breeds and learn about their attributes and role in Irish farming. A grassland demonstration will examine different grass and clover species, nitrogen fixation as well as dealing with environmental issues and the use of slurry and fertilizer.

Meath: Students visiting the Teagasc Animal Bioscience Research Centre, Grange on November 13 will get to see the latest technologies in molecular biology in the areas of animal breeding, fertility, reproduction and health and welfare.

Wexford: Students will get to visit field experiments at Teagasc Crops Environment and Land Use Research Centre at Johnstown Castle, Wexford, on November 22. They will learn about current Teagasc research in the areas of ecology, carbon cycling, water quality and soils and nutrient efficiency.

The aim of Science Week is to promote the relevance of science, technology, engineering and maths in our everyday lives and to demonstrate their importance to the future development of Irish society and to the economy.

Science Week is a Discover Science & Engineering (DSE) project. DSE initiatives are managed by Science Foundation Ireland on behalf of the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

For more see: http://www.scienceweek.ie