JRC scientists developed a novel method capable to identify the species of fish present in an unknown sample. This work will support enforcement laboratories in the challenge of detecting food fraud.
Establishing an efficient traceability framework for fish products is crucial for consumer protection and fisheries management. The potential for fraud, in particular the substitution of more expensive fish by cheaper species and without appropriate labelling, remains a serious concern. Recent scientific advances, particularly in the fields of genetics and genomics, have led to the development of novel and improved technologies, and efforts are under way to harness their potential in this context.
JRC scientists, using their in-house bioinformatics infrastructure and Next Generation Sequencing technology, identified novel regions in the genome of fish that can be used as tell-tale "markers" specific to each species. Using these markers, they showed the possibility to identify the fish species present in a test sample, even if this sample is composed of a mix of different fish species, and even if the sample was processed (for example, frozen then cooked).
This JRC work focuses on flat fish species, such as sole, halibut and turbot. The development and validation of additional markers applicable to other species prone to substitutions, such as cod and tuna, is currently under way.
Read more in: V. Paracchini et al. "Novel nuclear barcode regions for the identification of flatfish species", Food Control 79 (2017)297-308, doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2017.04.009
- 12 Mai 2017