Molecular authentication and detection of food adulterations with High Resolution Melt (HRM) analysis
An innovative technology has been developed for the authentication of food products and the amelioration of practices for food fraud. Unlike the traditional ones the proposed technology is less expensive and can differentiate closely related species even in heavily processed food products. The technology has been successfully implemented by our lab for species identification in raw and processed products, identification of local plant varieties, as well as the detection of food adulterants.
The proposed technology is based in High Resolution Melt (HRM) analysis. This analysis is based on the physicochemical properties of the DNA by comparing the melting curve profiles of different DNA amplicons when exposed to a ramp of increasing temperature. The HRM curves obtained are characteristic for each amplified product and are dependent on the GC content, the length of the amplified product, and the total nucleotide sequence.
High resolution melting (HRM) analysis has been developed as an alternative technology for the identification of DNA sequence differences. HRM is a fast post-PCR technology that is capable of detecting even small DNA variations amongst closely related species, without the high sequencing costs that are required for DNA barcoding.
Stage of development
The technology has been successfully implemented by our lab for species identification in raw and processed products, identification of local plant varieties, as well as the detection of food adulterants (technology validated in relevant environment - TRL5).
Challenge and needs
The challenge for a possible collaboration with business partners is the demonstration that the proposed technology could be applied and work successfully in the relevant environment (upscaling to TRL6). There is a high need, due to adulteration in the chain of supply, for authentication as this is a prerequisite to achieve high price and branding.
A prior art search is scheduled to be done
Potential markets and targets
The demand for food authenticity testing has grown considerably in recent years. According to Allied Market’s report on food authenticity industry, the market is expected to accrue a sum of $9,840 million, growing at a CAGR of 8.1 percent from 2018 to 2025.
Food traceability and authentication of commercially available food products have become necessary to ensure consumer safety. The identification of species and varieties is a basic requirement for verifying the authenticity of foodstuffs and dealing with any misleading practices of food fraud. The need for authentication becomes even more important if we consider the large quantities of food products traded daily in the world, the complexity of the food processing network, and the impact that food fraud practices may have to human health. In addition geographic origin authentication that has become a trend especially in Europe, is another major driving force of the food authentication market, as products with geographical indications of origin are considered of high quality commanding higher retail prices and bringing higher financial benefit to their producers than other products.
The proposed technology targets both the food industry and the food authenticity industry as it can greatly contribute in identifying species and varieties in scopes of protecting both the food producers/industry and the consumers, as well as adding added value to particular products.
Food and feed industries, possible cosmetics