Teagasc an agency of the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine , is Ireland’s leading state resource supporting innovation in the agri-food industry. Its food programme supports the meat and dairy processing, cereals and marine food sectors through a research agenda that includes adding value to meat products, cheese, infant formula and functional foods as well as food safety and food-for-health.

Download Teagasc Food Research Programme [pdf]  

Collaborative and contract research

In addition to industry-focused ‘public good’ research, the food team actively engages on a one-to-one basis with food companies in both collaborative and contract research.It  offers excellent infrastructure and extensive, modern and well-equipped research and processing facilities, with a number of unique facilities and specialist equipment.

The programme is run from two state-of-the-art locations:  the Teagasc Food Research Centre at Ashtown, close to Ireland’s capital city Dublin, and  Teagasc Moorepark in North Cork  – both internationally recognised sites of excellence. In addition, Teagasc collaborates with universities and research institutes in Ireland, the European Union, and around the world.

Teagasc  Ashtown is located near Castleknock on the outskirts of Dublin

The site extends to 30 hectares, which includes a category-3 food safety facility, a pilot-scale abattoir, meat processing plant, product development plant, a sensory analysis suite and a nutraceutical facility. The Teagasc Food Research Centre at Ashtown has an excellent research track record in microbiological and chemical food safety, meat and meat products, cereal and bakery products and in the field of nutraceuticals. Horticultural research is also undertaken at this location.

Dairy Industry Research: Teagasc Food Research Centre, Moorepark, Co Cork

Teagasc Moorepark is located on a 110 hectare site in North Cork The primary focus of Teagasc’s Food Research Centre at Moorepark is dairy research, and it has a proud history in the development of microbial cultures, new dairy ingredients and hybrid cheese varieties for dairy companies.

  • A separations/dehydration and ingredient facility supports the development of dairy-based ingredients and is specifically designed to support R&D associated with the infant milk formula industry.
  • Bioactive bioengineering capability: Researchers in Moorepark are world leaders in the use of bioengineering to carry out structure-function analysis of bioactives and the generation of food-grade derivatives of existing bioactives with a view to enhancing activity and stability.
  • A modern pilot plant facility: Moorepark Technology Limited  offers services which include pilot plant rental, contract research and development, pre-commercial manufacture and technical assistance/advice/support for food producers.


Facilities for large-animal feeding trials

Teagasc’s Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Programme, also located at Moorepark, operates its own dairy and beef cattle, sheep and pig production units, which are available for large-animal feeding trials, milk and animals for processing and quality determination.


Marine-based functional foods

Teagasc delivers support through the Marine Functional Foods Research Initiative or NutraMara, a joint initiative of the Marine Institute and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which aims to support the development of marine-based functional foods.


Technology transfer

Teagasc provides the food industry with opportunities to access its intellectual property through joint development and/or licensing agreements. Its portfolio of completed research projects can be accessed online.

Pilot plants available to industry

The Meat Industry Development Unit encompasses a pilot scale meat facility, incorporating a licensed abattoir (cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry); production units for processing and packaging of meat under controlled refrigeration systems and a cooked meats facility (curing, cooking, smoking). Process technologies include Tenderbound TM (hot boning and PiVac), electrical stimulation.

A modern dairy pilot-plant facility, Moorepark Technology, contains up-to-date and versatile pilot scale processing equipment. Services include pilot plant rental, contract research and development, pre-commercial manufacture and technical assistance/advice/support for food producers.

The Cereal Chemistry Laboratory and Test Bakery Facilities  include a mill room, test bakery and dough rheology laboratory that support industry-led research into the use of a range of flours and novel formulations for baked goods and extruded snacks.

Specialised laboratory facilities available to industry


  • Dedicated level 2 and level 3 pathogen containment laboratories, an extensive cell culture facility, a small-animal feed testing facility, an analytical facility which includes UPLC-MS/MS, 2D Nano LC-MALDI-QTOF and Biacore instrumentation and fully equipped microbiology and biotechnology laboratories.
  • A sequencing technology platform used for genomic and metagenomic studies.
  • The National Food Imaging Centre, which provides state-of-the-art microscopes and an associated image management system to support analysis of food microstructure.
  • The Bioactive Protein Discovery Unit, a world class facility with a proven track record in the purification of antimicrobial peptides. The unit is used for peptide purification, identification, analysis and generation via Ion Exchange, Reverse Phase and Size Exclusion chromatography, mass spectrometry, peptide synthesis and amino acid analysis. A broad series of bioassays are available for bioactive evaluation including antimicrobial assays, anti-infective assays, anti-thrombotic assays, anti-proliferative assays, anti-hypertensive assays, prebiotic/bifidogenic activity, pro-satiety assays, anti-obesity assays and immunomodulatory assays.
  • The Flavour Chemistry Facility contains state of the art GCMS equipment and a range of automated discrimination techniques (TD/SPME/ITEX). This facility and research expertise are available to support industry in product development, flavour/ aroma characterisation, product matching, and identification of off-flavours (aromas) or taints.
  • The Nutraceutical Research Facility has expertise in extracting and purifying biologically active components from natural resources, quantifying potential and chemically characterising components via state of the art instrumentation including a High Resolution NMR Suite and Quadrapole Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer.
  • The NMRsuite consists of a 500 Mhz NMR spectrometer with both liquid and HR-MAS probes, which enables semi-solid samples to be analysed. It also contains an LC-NMR facility which allows the rapid determination of the structure of molecules from mixtures of compounds.