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The Meat Standards Australia (MSA) grading scheme has the ability to predict beef eating quality for each ‘cut×cooking method combination’ from animal and carcass traits such as sex, age, breed, marbling, hot carcass weight and fatness, ageing time, etc. Following MSA testing protocols, a total of 22 different muscles, cooked by four different cooking methods and to three different degrees of doneness, were tasted by over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia. Consumers scored the sensory characteristics (tenderness, flavor liking, juiciness and overall liking) and then allocated samples to one of four quality grades: unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day and premium. We observed that 26% of the beef was unsatisfactory. As previously reported, 68% of samples were allocated to the correct quality grades using the MSA grading scheme. Furthermore, only 7% of the beef unsatisfactory to consumers was misclassified as acceptable. Overall, we concluded that an MSA-like grading scheme could be used to predict beef eating quality and hence underpin commercial brands or labels in a number of European countries, and possibly the whole of Europe. In addition, such an eating quality guarantee system may allow the implementation of an MSA genetic index to improve eating quality through genetics as well as through management. Finally, such an eating quality guarantee system is likely to generate economic benefits to be shared along the beef supply chain from farmers to retailors, as consumers are willing to pay more for a better quality product.
Accurately quantifying a consumer’s willingness to pay (WTP) for beef of different eating qualities is intrinsically linked to the development of eating-quality-based meat grading systems, and therefore the delivery of consistent, quality beef to the consumer. Following Australian MSA (Meat Standards Australia) testing protocols, over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia were asked to detail their willingness to pay for beef from one of four categories that best described the sample; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day or premium quality. These figures were subsequently converted to a proportion relative to the good-every-day category (P-WTP) to allow comparison between different currencies and time periods. Consumers also answered a short demographic questionnaire. Consumer P-WTP was found to be remarkably consistent between different demographic groups. After quality grade, by far the greatest influence on P-WTP was country of origin. This difference was unable to be explained by the other demographic factors examined in this study, such as occupation, gender, frequency of consumption and the importance of beef in the diet. Therefore, we can conclude that the P-WTP for beef is highly transferrable between different consumer groups, but not countries.
A legionellosis outbreak at an industrial site was investigated to identify and control the source. Cases were identified from disease notifications, workplace illness records, and from clinicians. Cases were interviewed for symptoms and risk factors and tested for legionellosis. Implicated environmental sources were sampled and tested for legionella. We identified six cases with Legionnaires’ disease and seven with Pontiac fever; all had been exposed to aerosols from the cooling towers on the site. Nine cases had evidence of infection with either Legionella pneumophila serogroup (sg) 1 or Legionella longbeachae sg1; these organisms were also isolated from the cooling towers. There was 100% DNA sequence homology between cooling tower and clinical isolates of L. pneumophila sg1 using sequence-based typing analysis; no clinical L. longbeachae isolates were available to compare with environmental isolates. Routine monitoring of the towers prior to the outbreak failed to detect any legionella. Data from this outbreak indicate that L. pneumophila sg1 transmission occurred from the cooling towers; in addition, L. longbeachae transmission was suggested but remains unproven. L. longbeachae detection in cooling towers has not been previously reported in association with legionellosis outbreaks. Waterborne transmission should not be discounted in investigations for the source of L. longbeachae infection.
The beef industry must become more responsive to the changing market place and consumer demands. An essential part of this is quantifying a consumer’s perception of the eating quality of beef and their willingness to pay for that quality, across a broad range of demographics. Over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland and France each tasted seven beef samples and scored them for tenderness, juiciness, flavour liking and overall liking. These scores were weighted and combined to create a fifth score, termed the Meat Quality 4 score (MQ4) (0.3×tenderness, 0.1×juiciness, 0.3×flavour liking and 0.3×overall liking). They also allocated the beef samples into one of four quality grades that best described the sample; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day or premium. After the completion of the tasting panel, consumers were then asked to detail, in their own currency, their willingness to pay for these four categories which was subsequently converted to a proportion relative to the good-every-day category (P-WTP). Consumers also answered a short demographic questionnaire. The four sensory scores, the MQ4 score and the P-WTP were analysed separately, as dependant variables in linear mixed effects models. The answers from the demographic questionnaire were included in the model as fixed effects. Overall, there were only small differences in consumer scores and P-WTP between demographic groups. Consumers who preferred their beef cooked medium or well-done scored beef higher, except in Poland, where the opposite trend was found. This may be because Polish consumers were more likely to prefer their beef cooked well-done, but samples were cooked medium for this group. There was a small positive relationship with the importance of beef in the diet, increasing sensory scores by about 4% in Poland and Northern Ireland. Men also scored beef about 2% higher than women for most sensory scores in most countries. In most countries, consumers were willing to pay between 150 and 200% more for premium beef, and there was a 50% penalty in value for unsatisfactory beef. After quality grade, by far the greatest influence on P-WTP was country of origin. Consumer age also had a small negative relationship with P-WTP. The results indicate that a single quality score could reliably describe the eating quality experienced by all consumers. In addition, if reliable quality information is delivered to consumers they will pay more for better quality beef, which would add value to the beef industry and encourage improvements in quality.
Quantifying consumer responses to beef across a broad range of demographics, nationalities and cooking methods is vitally important for any system evaluating beef eating quality. On the basis of previous work, it was expected that consumer scores would be highly accurate in determining quality grades for beef, thereby providing evidence that such a technique could be used to form the basis of and eating quality grading system for beef. Following the Australian MSA (Meat Standards Australia) testing protocols, over 19 000 consumers from Northern Ireland, Poland, Ireland, France and Australia tasted cooked beef samples, then allocated them to a quality grade; unsatisfactory, good-every-day, better-than-every-day and premium. The consumers also scored beef samples for tenderness, juiciness, flavour-liking and overall-liking. The beef was sourced from all countries involved in the study and cooked by four different cooking methods and to three different degrees of doneness, with each experimental group in the study consisting of a single cooking doneness within a cooking method for each country. For each experimental group, and for the data set as a whole, a linear discriminant function was calculated, using the four sensory scores which were used to predict the quality grade. This process was repeated using two conglomerate scores which are derived from weighting and combining the consumer sensory scores for tenderness, juiciness, flavour-liking and overall-liking, the original meat quality 4 score (oMQ4) (0.4, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3) and current meat quality 4 score (cMQ4) (0.3, 0.1, 0.3, 0.3). From the results of these analyses, the optimal weightings of the sensory scores to generate an ‘ideal meat quality 4 score (MQ4)’ for each country were calculated, and the MQ4 values that reflected the boundaries between the four quality grades were determined. The oMQ4 weightings were far more accurate in categorising European meat samples than the cMQ4 weightings, highlighting that tenderness is more important than flavour to the consumer when determining quality. The accuracy of the discriminant analysis to predict the consumer scored quality grades was similar across all consumer groups, 68%, and similar to previously reported values. These results demonstrate that this technique, as used in the MSA system, could be used to predict consumer assessment of beef eating quality and therefore to underpin a commercial eating quality guarantee for all European consumers.
The evidence underpinning the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) is overwhelming. As the emphasis shifts more towards interventions and the translational strategies for disease prevention, it is important to capitalize on collaboration and knowledge sharing to maximize opportunities for discovery and replication. DOHaD meetings are facilitating this interaction. However, strategies to perpetuate focussed discussions and collaborations around and between conferences are more likely to facilitate the development of DOHaD research. For this reason, the DOHaD Society of Australia and New Zealand (DOHaD ANZ) has initiated themed Working Groups, which convened at the 2014–2015 conferences. This report introduces the DOHaD ANZ Working Groups and summarizes their plans and activities. One of the first Working Groups to form was the ActEarly birth cohort group, which is moving towards more translational goals. Reflecting growing emphasis on the impact of early life biodiversity – even before birth – we also have a Working Group titled Infection, inflammation and the microbiome. We have several Working Groups exploring other major non-cancerous disease outcomes over the lifespan, including Brain, behaviour and development and Obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic health. The Epigenetics and Animal Models Working Groups cut across all these areas and seeks to ensure interaction between researchers. Finally, we have a group focussed on ‘Translation, policy and communication’ which focusses on how we can best take the evidence we produce into the community to effect change. By coordinating and perpetuating DOHaD discussions in this way we aim to enhance DOHaD research in our region.
We describe a versatile infrared camera/spectrograph, IRIS, designed and constructed at the Anglo-Australian Observatory for use on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. A variety of optical configurations can be selected under remote control to provide several direct image scales and a few low-resolution spectroscopic formats. Two cross-dispersed transmission echelles are of novel design, as is the use of a modified Bowen-Burch system to provide a fast f/ratio in the widest-field option. The drive electronics includes a choice of readout schemes for versatility, and continuous display when the array is not taking data, to facilitate field acquisition and focusing.
The linearity of the detector has been studied in detail. Although outwardly good, slight nonlinearities prevent removal of fixed-pattern noise from the data without application of a cubic linearising function.
Specific control and data-reduction software has been written. We describe also a scanning mode developed for spectroscopic imaging.
Our knowledge of the universe comes from recording the photon and particle fluxes incident on the Earth from space. We thus require sensitive measurement across the entire energy spectrum, using large telescopes with efficient instrumentation located on superb sites. Technological advances and engineering constraints are nearing the point where we are recording as many photons arriving at a site as is possible. Major advances in the future will come from improving the quality of the site. The ultimate site is, of course, beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, such as on the Moon, but economic limitations prevent our exploiting this avenue to the degree that the scientific community desires. Here we describe an alternative, which offers many of the advantages of space for a fraction of the cost: the Antarctic Plateau.
We present an overview of the survey for radio emission from active stars that has been in progress for the last six years using the observatories at Fleurs, Molonglo, Parkes and Tidbinbilla. The role of complementary optical observations at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Mount Burnett, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories and Mount Tamborine are also outlined. We describe the different types of star that have been included in our survey and discuss some of the problems in making the radio observations.
The Cosmology Distinction Course is a new one-year course to be introduced for Year 12 candidates in the 1994 Higher School Certificate examinations in NSW. It is one of three challenging courses of study that will enrich the HSC for talented students who accelerate and complete part of the HSC one year early. The courses will be taught through distance learning and will include residential seminars. They will be implemented on behalf of the Board of Studies by Charles Sturt University and the University of New England.
The Cosmology Course is organised into nine modules of course work covering historical and social aspects of cosmology, observational techniques, key observations and the various models developed—Newtonian, de Sitter, Friedmann, Lemaitre, steady-state, quasi-steady-state and big bang. Assessment will be through assignments, exams and a major project.
As the first Distinction Course in a scientific area, the Cosmology Course represents an exciting and important educational initiative that needs the cooperation of NSW astronomers and, in return, promises to benefit the astronomical and general scientific community in Australia.
European conformation and fat grades are a major factor determining carcass value throughout Europe. The relationships between these scores and sensory scores were investigated. A total of 3786 French, Polish and Irish consumers evaluated steaks, grilled to a medium doneness, according to protocols of the ‘Meat Standards Australia’ system, from 18 muscles representing 455 local, commercial cattle from commercial abattoirs. A mixed linear effects model was used for the analysis. There was a negative relationship between juiciness and European conformation score. For the other sensory scores, a maximum of three muscles out of a possible 18 demonstrated negative effects of conformation score on sensory scores. There was a positive effect of European fat score on three individual muscles. However, this was accounted for by marbling score. Thus, while the European carcass classification system may indicate yield, it has no consistent relationship with sensory scores at a carcass level that is suitable for use in a commercial system. The industry should consider using an additional system related to eating quality to aid in the determination of the monetary value of carcasses, rewarding eating quality in addition to yield.
Delivering beef of consistent quality to the consumer is vital for consumer satisfaction and will help to ensure demand and therefore profitability within the beef industry. In Australia, this is being tackled with Meat Standards Australia (MSA), which uses carcass traits and processing factors to deliver an individual eating quality guarantee to the consumer for 135 different ‘cut by cooking methods’ from each carcass. The carcass traits used in the MSA model, such as ossification score, carcass weight and marbling explain the majority of the differences between breeds and sexes. Therefore, it was expected that the model would predict with eating quality of bulls and dairy breeds with good accuracy. In total, 8128 muscle samples from 482 carcasses from France, Poland, Ireland and Northern Ireland were MSA graded at slaughter then evaluated for tenderness, juiciness, flavour liking and overall liking by untrained consumers, according to MSA protocols. The scores were weighted (0.3, 0.1, 0.3, 0.3) and combined to form a global eating quality (meat quality (MQ4)) score. The carcasses were grouped into one of the three breed categories: beef breeds, dairy breeds and crosses. The difference between the actual and the MSA-predicted MQ4 scores were analysed using a linear mixed effects model including fixed effects for carcass hang method, cook type, muscle type, sex, country, breed category and postmortem ageing period, and random terms for animal identification, consumer country and kill group. Bulls had lower MQ4 scores than steers and females and were predicted less accurately by the MSA model. Beef breeds had lower eating quality scores than dairy breeds and crosses for five out of the 16 muscles tested. Beef breeds were also over predicted in comparison with the cross and dairy breeds for six out of the 16 muscles tested. Therefore, even after accounting for differences in carcass traits, bulls still differ in eating quality when compared with females and steers. Breed also influenced eating quality beyond differences in carcass traits. However, in this case, it was only for certain muscles. This should be taken into account when estimating the eating quality of meat. In addition, the coefficients used by the Australian MSA model for some muscles, marbling score and ultimate pH do not exactly reflect the influence of these factors on eating quality in this data set, and if this system was to be applied to Europe then the coefficients for these muscles and covariates would need further investigation.
Ossification score and animal age are both used as proxies for maturity-related collagen crosslinking and consequently decreases in beef tenderness. Ossification score is strongly influenced by the hormonal status of the animal and may therefore better reflect physiological maturity and consequently eating quality. As part of a broader cross-European study, local consumers scored 18 different muscle types cooked in three ways from 482 carcasses with ages ranging from 590 to 6135 days and ossification scores ranging from 110 to 590. The data were studied across three different maturity ranges; the complete range of maturities, a lesser range and a more mature range. The lesser maturity group consisted of carcasses having either an ossification score of 200 or less or an age of 987 days or less with the remainder in the greater maturity group. The three different maturity ranges were analysed separately with a linear mixed effects model. Across all the data, and for the greater maturity group, animal age had a greater magnitude of effect on eating quality than ossification score. This is likely due to a loss of sensitivity in mature carcasses where ossification approached and even reached the maximum value. In contrast, age had no relationship with eating quality for the lesser maturity group, leaving ossification score as the more appropriate measure. Therefore ossification score is more appropriate for most commercial beef carcasses, however it is inadequate for carcasses with greater maturity such as cull cows. Both measures may therefore be required in models to predict eating quality over populations with a wide range in maturity.
The nematode Angiostrongylus vasorum is becoming more widely recorded globally, and is of increasing concern as a cause of disease in dogs. Apparent geographic spread is difficult to confirm due to a lack of standardized disease recording systems, increasing awareness among veterinary clinicians, and recent improvements in diagnostic technologies. This study examines the hypothesis that A. vasorum has spread in recent years by repeating the methods of a previous survey of the fox population. The hearts and lungs of 442 foxes from across Great Britain were collected and examined by dissection and flushing of the pulmonary circulation and microscopic inspection of tracheal scrapes. Sampling and parasite extraction methods were identical to an earlier survey in 2005 to ensure comparability. Prevalence of A. vasorum was 18·3% (exact binomial confidence bounds 14·9–22·3), compared with 7·3% previously (5·3–9·9, n = 546), and had increased significantly in most regions, e.g. 7·4% in the Northern UK (previously zero) and 50·8% in the south-east (previously 23·2%). Other nematodes identified were Crenosoma vulpis (prevalence 10·8%, CI 8·1–14·2) and Eucoleus aerophilus (31·6%, CI 27·3–36·2). These data support the proposal that A. vasorum has increased in prevalence and has spread geographically in Great Britain.
This paper describes the system architecture of a newly constructed radio telescope – the Boolardy engineering test array, which is a prototype of the Australian square kilometre array pathfinder telescope. Phased array feed technology is used to form multiple simultaneous beams per antenna, providing astronomers with unprecedented survey speed. The test array described here is a six-antenna interferometer, fitted with prototype signal processing hardware capable of forming at least nine dual-polarisation beams simultaneously, allowing several square degrees to be imaged in a single pointed observation. The main purpose of the test array is to develop beamforming and wide-field calibration methods for use with the full telescope, but it will also be capable of limited early science demonstrations.
BOUT++ is a 3D nonlinear finite-difference plasma simulation code, capable of solving quite general systems of Partial Differential Equations (PDEs), but targeted particularly on studies of the edge region of tokamak plasmas. BOUT++ is publicly available, and has been adopted by a growing number of researchers worldwide. Here we present improvements which have been made to the code since its original release, both in terms of structure and its capabilities. Some recent applications of these methods are reviewed, and areas of active development are discussed. We also present algorithms and tools which have been developed to enable creation of inputs from analytic expressions and experimental data, and for processing and visualisation of output results. This includes a new tool Hypnotoad for the creation of meshes from experimental equilibria. Algorithms have been implemented in BOUT++ to solve a range of linear algebraic problems encountered in the simulation of reduced Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and gyro-fluid models: A preconditioning scheme is presented which enables the plasma potential to be calculated efficiently using iterative methods supplied by the PETSc library (the Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation) (Balay et al. 2014), without invoking the Boussinesq approximation. Scaling studies are also performed of a linear solver used as part of physics-based preconditioning to accelerate the convergence of implicit time-integration schemes.