Institute for Food and Health
Expertise in food technology; food chain integrity; food and the environment; and food and nutrition

The University College of Dublin  (UCD) Institute of Food and Health   was established in 2008 to bring together the breadth of experience in UCD in health-related aspects of food research.  By uniting the wealth of knowledge available to it, the Institute allows UCD to achieve critical mass in food and health and to exploit the unique repertoire it has across Agriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Public Health Medicine, Food Safety, Nutrition, Food Law, Consumer Research, Food Science, Biosystems Engineering, and Food Production. The Institute is only one of a very few academic groups in Europe with this wide range of expertise over the entire food chain. There are four research themes within the UCD Institute of Food and Health: Food Technology; Food Chain Integrity; Food and the Environment; and Food and Nutrition.  The intersection of food and health studies is one of UCD’s priority research areas. One of the truly unique strengths of the Institute is the capacity to move its research from primary agricultural production, through to food science and engineering and from veterinary public health to food safety and nutrition, right through to food regulation and consumer research.

The Food Production group of the UCD Institute for Food and Health and is recognized both nationally and internationally for the excellence of its members research in all areas of food production.  The group is a central player in national food production research projects that cover a range of topics, from the environmental sustainability of food production to enhancing the nutraceutical content of beef and milk. We also focus research on the manipulation of intestinal micro flora in optimizing gut health, animal welfare, efficiency and production

Other disciplines are : Food Science, Food Law, Food and Consumer, Food and Nutrition, Biosystems, Engineering and Food Safety.


Research in the UCD Food Production group can be encompassed within the following three major thematic areas:

  • Gut health
  • Sustainable food production
  • Manipulation of food composition

Gut health
Our group are investigating the influence of various types of non digestible oligosaccharides and lactose sources on:

  • The microbial population of the gastro-intestinal tracts of pigs
  • Nutrient Utilisation and excretion
  • Structure and function of the gut
  • Structure and function of the immune system

Current projects

  • Nutrition of farm animals for improved health and performance
  • Functional properties of beta-glucans from oats, barley and seaweeds

Sustainable food production

We are also focussed on the development of feeding strategies for livestock which reduce:

  • methane emissions in grazing and indoor housed dairy and beef cattle
  • odour emissions in pigs
  • ammonia emissions in dairy and beef cattle and pigs
  • excretion of nitrogen and phosphorus in beef and dairy cattle and pigs

Current projects

  • The use of dietary beta-glucans to reduce the environmental impact of pig production
  • Nutritional and management strategies to reduce nitrogen excretion, ammonia and nitrous emmissions from dairy, beef and pig farms
  • Understanding and reducing methane emissions in ruminants through both breeding and nutritional strategies

Manipulating food composition

This research combines animal nutrition and functional genomics to enhance the nutraceutical content of beef and milk. Other interests include the effects of iodine supplementation on iodine concentration in milk and milk products.

Current projects

  • Improving the healthiness of beef and specifically its fatty caid composition, through strategic animal nutrition
  • Examination of cow breed and season on the fatty acid composition of milk in grazing dairy cows
  • Impact of pre and post-partum iodine supplementation on dairy products
  • Releasing the potential of bovine lactoferrin
    Funding bodies


We contribute to several education programmes both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels:

  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science programme
  • Veterinary Medicine programme
  • PhD and MSc(Res) opportunities in UCD


We collaborate with a number of other institutions that are involved in food production research both nationally and internationally.

Scientists involved in COST Action Feed for Health: David Kenny and John O'Doherty

Where am I?
University of Milan, ItalyNofima, NorwayNorwegian School of Veterinary Science, NorwayNorwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), NorwayInstitute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), BelgiumWalloon Agricultural Research Centre, BelgiumFaculty of Bioscience Engineering, BelgiumUniversity of Reading, United KingdomBeacon Research, United KingdomRowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, United KingdomInstitute of Food and Health (UCD), IrelandHuman and animal physiology, Animal Sciences Wageningen University, The NetherlandsVeterinary Physiology, University of Bern, SwitzerlandAgroscope Liebefeld-Posieux, SwitzerlandTrakia University, BulgariaInstitute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research, PolandDepartment of Genetics and Biotechnology, Aarhus University, DenmarkDepartment of Animal Health, Welfare and Nutrition, Aarhus University, DenmarkLithuanian Veterinary Academy, LithuaniaINCDBNA, RomanieUniversity of Cordoba, SpainUniversity of Barcelona, SpainInstitute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences, EstoniaInstitute of Bioresources (IBA), RomaniaInstitute of Crop Research, Czech RepublicUniversity of Copenhagen, DenmarkMTT Agrifood Research, FinlandResearch Institute for the Biology of Farm Animals (FBN), GermanyUniversity of Helsinki, FinlandInstitute of Food Technology, SerbiaINRA, FranceInstitute of Animal Science, Czech RepublicFaculty of Agriculture, CroatiaAgricultural University of Athens, GreeceAgricultural Research and Education Centre, AustriaSERIDA, Spain
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Institute for Food and Health (UCD)
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