Fruit pulps represent the essential ingredients of jams and are also used extensively in the production of flavoured and luxury yoghurts which account for 50% of the yoghurt market. There is a scarcity of methods for confirming the identity of fruit pulps and considerable benefit to be gained by fraudulent substitution and the mixing of cheaper pulps, e.g. elderberry with raspberry or strawberry.
Numerous methods for the identification and quantification of components of fruit species exist but these methods are frequently ineffective in processed food products due to the complex nature of food matrices and the influence of processing. In contrast, DNA based approaches have been utilised to address a number of food authenticity issues related to processed food.
This study will extend and build on previous work based on the amplification and analysis of high copy number, polymorphic, chloroplast DNA sequences, and improve knowledge of the applications of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology to food matrices. As part of the research approach:
A written Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for DNA extraction from yoghurts and jams that allows amplification of plant DNA contained within these products will be produced.
<li>PCR technology will then be used to amplify DNA and characterise plant species within jams and yoghurts. This has not been previously achieved and therefore will represent a significant advance on the state of the art.
<li>The protocol developed will then be tested both in-house and also in a blind trial. This will provide an independent assessment of the robustness of this approach and the potential application of the method.
<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>.