Murdoch's $2.5m for better beef

August 25, 2016

Researchers at Murdoch University are leading two major research projects aimed at improving Australia’s beef quality.

Murdoch researchers have been awarded $2.5m in funding to support Australia's beef industry

Murdoch researchers have been awarded $2.5m in funding to support Australia's beef industry

One project will seek to identify the ideal cattle feed to ensure that meat remains red and tender when it hits supermarket shelves.

The second project will aim to attract the next generation of research graduates to further studies and support the industry’s workforce.

Dr Peter McGilchrist, Lecturer in Animal Production at Murdoch’s School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, is leading both projects.

He said: “It’s a reflection of the high quality of research carried out at Murdoch that the University has been chosen to lead two projects on this scale.

“Murdoch is a leader for research in this field and we enjoy a long, established relationship with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC).

“Our aim is to use our knowledge and research to ensure that the industry is delivering the best quality products to consumers.”

Dr McGilchrist said consumer buying patterns highlighted a preference for meat which is bright red in colour.

“Dark-cutting beef is caused by a number of factors,” said Dr McGilchrist. “The grass which cattle feed on has a direct effect on the colour and quality of meat that is produced, so we are working to identify cattle feed that will best showcase the quality and texture of the meat.”

Murdoch received over $1.9m from AMPC to fund 56 scholarships around Australia in collaboration with six other universities.

It’s hoped that The Elite Meat Undergraduate Program will help recruit the next generation of leaders for Australia’s meat industry.

Dr McGilchrist said: “Funding for 56 graduate research scholarships is vital and will benefit Australia’s meat industry for generations.”

Students will improve their practical skills through a contract with industry partners, including an honours project and the opportunity to develop professional relationships.

MLA has invested $600,000 into the project, which will see Murdoch develop supplements which improve the meat colour and quality of grass-fed beef.

Dr McGilchrist will lead the research, with the funding paying for a full time post-graduate to support the project. The study will run for three years, starting in January 2017.

Professor David Morrison, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research & Innovation at Murdoch, said: “Murdoch University’s research focus aims to provide solutions to global problems, especially the right to sustainable access to adequate amounts of nutritious food.

“This funding will help our researchers turn challenges into opportunities, delivering solutions from top quality research which is translated into practice and beneficial community outcomes.

“We are delighted with our industry partners’ commitment to training the next generation of industry leaders in this area.”

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Media contact: Thomas Smith
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Categories: Research, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences Research
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