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TitleScience for Defra
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Total Pages109
Table of Contents
                            0 Cover
1 Summary and General Information
2 Agenda
3 Biographies
4 Abstracts
5 Attendee List
6a Organogram
6b ARIs
6c Defra Evidence Plans Cover
6d Evidence Plans
8 Evaluation Form
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Science for Defra:
excellence in the
application of evidence

29 – 30 March 2017
Held at the Royal Society






Page 2

This two-day conference will bring together academics,
government scientists and policymakers for an open and
collaborative discussion about how science and technology
can best inform environmental, food and rural policy.

Defra and the Royal Society aim to showcase the best in
both academic and government science, identify evidence
gaps and research priorities, and enrich the dialogue
between academic and policy communities. The conference
will cover a range of Defra’s areas of interest, including food
and farming, animal health, environmental quality, and the
provision of services from the natural environment.

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24. A complex pathology of Acute Oak Decline is revealed using a novel systems approach to

This will be presented in the form of a poster pitch in Defra Science Showcase Session 1, 29th March
10:20 – 10:30.

Food and Animal Health

25. Protein Analysis for meat speciation

M. Rosario Romero and Helen Grundy, Fera and Sophie Rollinson, Defra

Food labelling legislation demands detailed and reliable information about the contents of the food that
we eat. Moral, religious, ethical, dietary or health factors may influence consumer choice and it is
therefore critical that food labelling is correct. Enforcement authorities must have access to verification
technologies to confirm the accuracy of such information.

Following the horse meat crisis in 2013, Defra commissioned Fera to investigate the use of proteomics
methodology for meat speciation, with a focus on highly processed meat products, where existing DNA-
based methods may not be reliable.

A database of unique peptides for horse, cow, pig, sheep, goat, chicken, donkey, turkey and rabbit has
been created. This database will be expanded by periodic updates and inclusion of additional species,
thus providing a tool for the detection of unexpected contaminating animal species in foods by non-
targeted proteomics.

This database of species-unique peptide markers has been used for the analysis of meat mixtures.
Successful results have been obtained so far for processed horse meat and pork in a beef background,
achieving detection of

- 0.5% horse in beef

- 1% horse in 49% pork plus 50% beef

- 0.5% pork in beef

- 1% horse plus 1% pork in beef

Species-specific peptides have been identified as robust markers that could be used to design rapid
targeted methods for meat species identification and quantification.

Future steps:

1) Rapid quantitative mass spectrometry methods can be developed based on the species-
specific marker peptides identified here. This type of method can be applied for routine testing
in laboratories that are equipped with bench top mass spectrometers.

2) The database of species-specific peptides can be used to test samples for unknown
contaminating species using a non-targeted workflow such as that followed in this work. The
ability to discover “unknowns” fills a gap that is currently not covered by PCR technologies.

26. Proteomics mass spectrometry method for the determination of the species of origin of
gelatine in foods.

Helen Grundy, Fera and Sophie Rollinson, and Defra

Gelatine is a component of a wide range of foods. It is manufactured as a highly processed by-product
of the meat industry, mainly from bovine and porcine bone and hide. Accurate food labelling enables
consumers to make informed decisions about their food. Since labelling of gelatines currently relies
heavily on due diligence involving a paper trail, there could be benefits in developing a reliable test
method for the consumer industries in terms of gelatine species of origin. We present a qualitative
method to determine the species origin of gelatines by peptide mass spectrometry methods.
Commercial gelatines and food products have been screened and found to contain undeclared species.
This analytical method could therefore support the food industry in terms of determining the species
authenticity of gelatine in foods and is commensurate with Defra’s aims to identify research and survey
needs that will help to protect consumers by addressing food fraud and misleading food labelling activity.

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Unique gelatine peptides have also been identified which have the potential to be used to develop rapid,
low cost, point-of-use tests which may be of value to the food industry.

27. A cross-sectional study of lying behaviour on 23 UK dairy farms: how much do cows lie
down and what management factors influence this behaviour?

Sophie Collins*1, Dan Gammon2, Jenny Gibbons3, Charlotte C. Burn1, Jacqueline M. Cardwell1, Richard
Vecqueray2 & Nick J. Bell1

*Corresponding Author, 1Royal Veterinary College , 2Evidence Based Veterinary Consultancy Ltd

Providing cows with adequate opportunity to lie down each day is important for dairy cow health, welfare
and milk production, allowing rest and rumination. Most research into dairy cow lying behaviour has
been conducted in North America, but we know relatively little about this in UK dairy cows. We aimed
to determine the average daily lying time of English dairy cows, how much lying time varies across
different cows and herds, and the impact of different management factors. Daily lying time was recorded
for 741 cows in 23 English dairy herds using electronic data loggers. Average daily lying time was 10.4
hours – although lying times varied substantially (between 2.8 and 16.9 hours) across cows. Herd
average daily lying times ranged from 7.4 to 11.8 hours. Cows at pasture (day and night) spent 3-4
hours less time lying down than fully or partly housed cows. Cows in straw yards had some of the
longest lying times, lying down ~1 hour longer than those in cubicles. Deep bedding also increased
lying in cubicle systems, with cows on deep bedded sand cubicles lying down ~1.5 hours more than
those on mat/mattress cubicles. Cubicle width and length were not found to influence lying time.
However, longer cubicles were associated with more transitions between lying and standing, which may
indicate greater ease in getting up and down. In summary, this study provides a useful ‘baseline’ picture
of daily lying time on English dairy farms. Findings suggest lying times can be very variable (both within
and across herds). In line with existing guidance, deep bedding and sufficient rising space represent
key factors for optimal dairy cow comfort.

28. Food fraud: meat speciation and quantitation – a spotlight on Defra funded science

This will be presented in the form of a poster pitch in Defra Science Showcase Session 4, 29th March
16:00 – 16:30.

29. The UK Food Authenticity Programme

This will be presented in the form of a poster pitch in Defra Science Showcase Session 4, 29th March
16:00 – 16:30.

30. Gathering evidence to inform Salmonella control in pigs

This will be presented in the form of a poster pitch in Defra Science Showcase Session 4, 29th March
16:00 – 16:30.

31. UK greenhouse gas emissions are reduced through healthy and realistic dietary change

Rosemary Green*1,2, James Milner1, Alan Dangour1,2, Andy Haines1,2, Zaid Chalabi1, Anil Markandya3,
Joseph Spadaro3 and Paul Wilkinson1

*Corresponding author. 1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 2Leverhulme Centre for
Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health, 3Basque Centre for Climate Change

The UK has committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% relative to 1990 levels by
2050, and it has been suggested that this should include a 70% reduction in emissions from food.
Meeting this target is likely to require significant changes to diets, but the likely effect of these changes
on population nutritional intakes is currently unknown. However, the current average UK diets for men
and women do not conform to WHO dietary recommendations, and this presents an opportunity to
improve the nutritional content of diets while also reducing the associated GHG emissions. The results
of this study show that if, in the first instance, average diets among UK adults conformed to WHO
recommendations, their associated GHG emissions would be reduced by 17%. Further GHG emission
reductions of around 40% could be achieved by making realistic modifications to diets so that they
contain fewer animal products and processed snacks and more fruit, vegetables and cereals. However,

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Science for Defra: Excellence in the application of evidence - Evaluation Form
Thank you for attending the Science for Defra conference. We are keen to get your feedback on this first joint
Defra/Royal Society event; the broad aims of which are to expose academics and stakeholders to the wide range of
science Defra is interested in, and to look to establish more fruitful long term partnerships with those working inside
and outside government. A box for completed surveys is available on the registration desk or please hand your
completed form in to one of the conference organisers.

Section 1: Conference agenda
The agenda aimed to cover a substantial range of Defra science, to showcase specific Defra science, to allow for Royal Society
fellows and independent experts to give presentations on their research, and to allow time for workshops on key issues facing the
department, networking and interaction between Defra staff, academics and other stakeholders.
How would you rate the 2017 conference agenda?

Excellent Good Average Poor Very poor

Please provide comments on the conference agenda, such as the balance of sessions, background of speakers,
appropriateness of keynote speakers, for example.

How would you rate workshops you attended (food and farming and/or natural environment)? The aim of the workshops was
to explore in more detail some of the opportunities and threats facing the food & farming and natural environment sectors.

Workshop Excellent Good Average Poor Very poor �/�����]���v�[�š�����š�š���v��
Food & Farming
Natural Environment

Please provide comments on what could be improved for the workshops you attended:

Food and Farming:

Natural Environment:

How would you rate the Defra science showcase sessions? The aims of the showcase sessions were to highlight the diverse
range of Defra science undertaken across the group.

Excellent Good Average Poor Very poor �/�����]���v�[�š�����š�š���v��

Please provide comments on what could be improved for the showcase sessions you attended:

How would you rate the panel discussions? The aims of the panel discussions were to allow deeper exploration of the issues at
stake, and to draw out some of the areas in which Defra could draw on research/thinking already being done.

Excellent Good Average Poor Very poor �/�����]���v�[�š�����š�š���v��

Please provide comments on what could be improved for the panel discussions you attended:

Page 109

Section 2: Conference organisation
The conference was organised by the RS and by Defra jointly. Please rate the organisation of the conference.

Excellent Good Average Poor


What could be improved?


delegate packs

Organisation on
the day

Other (please

Please provide any other comments or suggestions on what could be improved

Section 3: Conference impact
One of the key aims of the Science for Defra conference is to provide opportunities to create new collaborations
between academia and Defra and strengthen the links between science and policy. Capturing feedback on the
impact and value of the conference will enable Defra and RS to improve the effectiveness of future events.

What was your primary reason for attending the conference? Please provide comments on what you hoped to get out of the
conference, such as, new collaborations, information on policy/practice/research, a chance to share your research outputs, or
a contribution towards a particular aspect of your learning and development.

Has the conference changed your thinking in any way?
Yes No If yes, in what ways and to what extent?

Have you developed new contacts, networks or collaborations as a result of attending the conference?
Yes No
If yes, what ongoing effect might these have for your work? How can Defra and RS help you build on these collaborations?

Would you be willing for us to contact you after the event to follow up on some of the responses you have provided here?
Yes No

Name and

Area of expertise


Thank you for completing this evaluation form.

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