Scientists from Teagasc and UCC have been awarded a major international prize for dairy research.

Teagasc researchers Dr Catherine Stanton and Professor Paul Ross of Moorepark, and Professors Colin Hill and Gerald Fitzgerald of the Microbiology Department, UCC, were awarded the International Dairy Federation's Elie Metchnikoff Prize in Microbiology.

The Metchnikoff Prize is named in honour of the recipient of the 1908 Nobel Prize, and recognises outstanding scientific discoveries in the fields of microbiology, biotechnology, nutrition and health with regard to fermented milks and to promote further research and innovation in the dairy industry.

The four Irish scientists received the award in recognition of their contribution to the study of lactic acid bacteria.

Director of Teagasc Professor Gerry Boyle said the award is richly deserved.

He said understanding how these bacteria work is so important in our daily lives as they are used in the production of foods, such as cheese and yoghurts, and they are also found in the gut and have an influence on our health.