Food authentication

According to national and international regulations, commercial food products have to be safe and authentic. In case the food label contains any deliberately false or misleading statement regarding e.g. quality, composition, geographic origin or type of food processing, the food product is adulterated. In particular mislabelling of species has become a global issue.

We are developing DNA based assays for the discrimination of species, subspecies and/or cultivars to detect food adulteration. One of our approaches is to use DNA barcodes as genetic markers. DNA barcodes are short DNA sequences that contain conserved regions at the 5´ and the 3´end, enabling to amplify the barcode sequence with a universal primer pair. The central part of the barcode sequence should be variable, enabling discriminating the species of interest.

Currently, we are investigating the suitability of analysing short single repeats (SSR) by high resolution melting (HRM) for the discrimination of old apple cultivars from Styria. In cooperation with the Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), we are combining DNA barcoding with next generation sequencing (NGS) technology. A so-called DNA metabarcoding method developed recently allows the identification of fifteen mammalian and six poultry species in food. Currently, we are developing DNA metabarcoding methods for seafood authentication and methods allowing discrimination between economic plant species in food, respectively.    

Cooperation partners:

  • Rupert Hochegger, Stefanie Dobrovolny, Verena Peterseil, Peter Hufnagl, Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES)
  • Martin Wagner, Institute of Food Safety, Food Technology and Veterinary Public Health, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
  • Barbara Siegmund, Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Food Chemistry, Graz University of Technology
  • Thomas Rühmer, Versuchsstation Obst- und Weinbau Haidegg, Graz
  • Marina Stefova, Jasmina Petreska Stanoeva, Institute of Chemistry, Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, North Macedonia