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NDSU researchers receive North Dakota Beef Commission grants

Several NDSU researchers have received research grants from the North Dakota Beef Commission. The funding comes through the additional $1-per-head state beef checkoff.

“We know we have a great story to share with consumers about the health benefits of beef, but we must have the facts to back up our claims,” said Gackle, North Dakota, cattleman Jeff Dahl, chair of the North Dakota Beef Commission. “Research is key to our ability to increase demand and profitability.”

Supported human nutrition projects at NDSU include:

• A study to evaluate the association between dietary protein intake (beef specifically) and muscle and bone quality among females across the lifespan; and how the amount of physical activity impacts this relationship. The study was proposed by Sherri Stastny, associate professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences. It builds on work previously funded by the North Dakota Beef Commission, National Beef Checkoff and Minnesota Beef Council.

• Research conducted by Kimberly Vonnahme, professor of animal sciences, will investigate if replacing carbohydrates (sugar) with beef in prenatal diets could have a positive impact on childhood obesity and heart disease.

• A study to determine if replacing carbohydrates (sugar) with beef in maternal diets will increase secondary muscle fiber development in offspring. The work will be conducted by Eric Berg, professor and associate head of animal sciences, and doctoral student Megan Nelson.

• Berg will conduct a study on whether replacing sugar with beef in prenatal diets has any effect on bone density and bone health.

Product quality and safety projects at NDSU selected for funding by the commission include:

• Robert Maddock, associate professor of animal sciences, will investigate if carcass size and weight, and potential differences in cut size and weight, have an impact on beef quality.

• Research to determine how the inclusion of beta-agonists in beef production might affect tenderness. The research, by Kasey Maddock Carlin, associate professor of animal sciences, examines the cellular mechanisms involved and builds on previous research funded nationally with beef checkoff dollars that Carlin has conducted.

• Novel microbiological intervention research that can be applied to ground beef to reduce bacteria, conducted by Birgit Pruess, professor of microbiological sciences. Pruess also will assess consumer acceptance of the product involved.

• A study with Berg and Xin Sun, research scientist, will investigate if oleic acid can be quantified by online image analysis. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid associated with many positive health benefits. It is abundant in high-quality beef, and has been associated with beef flavor.

The commission also funded a research project at Purdue University. Commissioners allocated the checkoff funds to the research studies from a field of 23 proposals.

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