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Evaluation of DNA Based Methods for Fruit Juice Authenticity Using Lab-on-a-Chip Capillary Electrophoresis Endpoint Detection

Campden BRI
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Significant economic advantage can be gained by the illegal adulteration of fruit juices by deliberate dilution or extension of the product with cheaper alternative juices. A method to detect fruit juice adulteration is required to establish where fraudulent substitution has occurred and protect the consumer from these practices.

Two projects have been commissioned to carry out this work. The first aims to evaluate the feasibility of using a DNA based technique and capillary electrophoresis “lab on a chip” detection method to identify six fruit species: Apple, Blueberry, Elderberry, Grape, Pear and Pomegranate used in either fruit juice production or as potential adulterants. A separate project aims to detect adulteration of citrus fruit juices by transferring an existing DNA method to the capillary electrophoresis chip (see project Q01114).

More information
The Agency has funded a number of recent projects focusing on transfer of DNA methods to a capillary electrophoresis “lab on a chip” platform. This is a simple, robust format for accurate sizing and quantification of DNA fragments and thus is suited for routine use by Public Analyst laboratories.

Research Approach:
A Polymerase Chain Reaction-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) approach will be used to develop a database of DNA profiles that can distinguish the fruit species commonly used in fruit juice production and also potential adulterant fruit species. This method involves PCR amplification of a specific segment of DNA from each fruit species, followed by digestion of the DNA with restriction enzymes which cut the DNA to produce smaller fragments. A profile of restriction fragments, specific to each fruit species is produced and this can be used to identify whether that fruit is present in a fruit juice.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
Sanitation and Quality Standards