There is a need for the development of suitable methods to detect the adulteration of olive oil with cheaper hazelnut oil. The aim of Project Q01060 is to develop suitable DNA techniques for the qualitative detection of unrefined hazelnut oil in virgin olive oil and refined hazelnut oil in refined olive oil. Although the primary objective is to develop methods for detection, their potential for quantitation will be also be considered. Anglia Oils UK will provide advice on oils, blending and refining. Authentic oils will be obtained direct from producers and DNA extraction techniques specifically developed for oils and fats will be applied. For qualitative methods, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) products will be detected using a DNA LabChip system. <p>Quantitative assays will use real-time PCR (TaqMan) for hazelnut and olive oil DNA targets. Specifically developed methods have previously been used to extract DNA from unrefined and refined oils and detect PCR targets. If this can be achieved for hazelnut oils this will provide a high degree of specificity for detecting adulteration of olive oils and compliment other methods that are in development.
The research approach of Project Q01060 is as follows:
Procure hazelnut oil and olive oil samples from France, Spain, Greece and Turkey with documented evidence of authenticity.
Develop reliable, PCR-based assays for sensitive and specific detection of hazelnut and olive species.
Determine the most appropriate DNA extraction method for obtaining good quality DNA from hazelnut and olive oil samples.
Validate assays for the detection and quantification of hazelnut oil in olive oil.
Report findings to FSA and scientific community.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.