Advanced Technologies in Detecting Food Fraud and Authenticity

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Analytical Methods".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (24 March 2024) | Viewed by 11141

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Food Engineering, Ștefan cel Mare University, 720229 Suceava, Romania
Interests: food rheology; food authentication and adulteration detection; development of new methods for food characterization
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food authenticity is a major issue due to consumers’ lack of trust in food products. Thus, there is significant interest among the scientific community in developing new methods for authenticating food. Food adulteration presents three main issues: (a) an economical issue generated by the sale of genuine/adulterated products as authentic ones; (b) a legal issue considering that the addition of unstipulated ingredients on food labels is prohibited; and (c) a health issue, because added ingredients may have toxic effects on humans.

In this context, this Special Issue of Foods invites novel contributions concerning any aspect related to food authenticity and adulteration detection with the aim of contributing to the scientific literature on this topic, which will help consumers increase their confidence in the authenticity of food products.

Prof. Dr. Mircea Oroian
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • food
  • authenticity
  • adulteration
  • chemometrics
  • methods

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 3274 KiB  
Article
In Search of Authenticity Biomarkers in Food Supplements Containing Sea Buckthorn: A Metabolomics Approach
by Ancuța Cristina Raclariu-Manolică and Carmen Socaciu
Foods 2023, 12(24), 4493; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12244493 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1563
Abstract
Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) (SB) is increasingly consumed worldwide as a food and food supplement. The remarkable richness in biologically active phytochemicals (polyphenols, carotenoids, sterols, vitamins) is responsible for its purported nutritional and health-promoting effects. Despite the considerable interest and high [...] Read more.
Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) (SB) is increasingly consumed worldwide as a food and food supplement. The remarkable richness in biologically active phytochemicals (polyphenols, carotenoids, sterols, vitamins) is responsible for its purported nutritional and health-promoting effects. Despite the considerable interest and high market demand for SB-based supplements, a limited number of studies report on the authentication of such commercially available products. Herein, untargeted metabolomics based on ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-ESI+MS) were able to compare the phytochemical fingerprint of leaves, berries, and various categories of SB-berry herbal supplements (teas, capsules, tablets, liquids). By untargeted metabolomics, a multivariate discrimination analysis and a univariate approach (t-test and ANOVA) showed some putative authentication biomarkers for berries, e.g., xylitol, violaxanthin, tryptophan, quinic acid, quercetin-3-rutinoside. Significant dominant molecules were found for leaves: luteolin-5-glucoside, arginine, isorhamnetin 3-rutinoside, serotonin, and tocopherol. The univariate analysis showed discriminations between the different classes of food supplements using similar algorithms. Finally, eight molecules were selected and considered significant putative authentication biomarkers. Further studies will be focused on quantitative evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies in Detecting Food Fraud and Authenticity)
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19 pages, 1271 KiB  
Article
A Combined Gas and Liquid Chromatographic Approach for Quality Evaluation of Saffron-Based Food Supplements
by Adal Mena-García, María L. Sanz, Marina Díez-Municio and Ana I. Ruiz-Matute
Foods 2023, 12(22), 4071; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12224071 - 9 Nov 2023
Viewed by 956
Abstract
Considering the interest in the bioactive properties of saffron (Crocus sativus L.), as well as its limited production and high price, saffron-based food supplements (SFS) are highly susceptible to adulteration. However, their complex composition and the wide variety of potential fraudulent practices [...] Read more.
Considering the interest in the bioactive properties of saffron (Crocus sativus L.), as well as its limited production and high price, saffron-based food supplements (SFS) are highly susceptible to adulteration. However, their complex composition and the wide variety of potential fraudulent practices make the comprehensive assessment of SFS quality a challenging task that has been scarcely addressed. To that aim, a new multianalytical strategy based on gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography with diode array detection coupled to mass spectrometry (HPLC-DAD-MS) was developed and validated in order to detect different frauds affecting SFS. Dried saffron stigmas and a commercial standardized saffron extract (affron®) were selected as reference samples (RS) to obtain an authenticity profile, which was further used to evaluate the quality of 17 SFS. Up to 17 crocins and crocetins, 5 kaempferol glycosides, picrocrocin (determined for the first time by GC-MS), safranal, furanone and isophorone-related compounds were determined in RS. Safranal and crocins were identified in all SFS except for one sample. However, discrepancies with the content declared were detected in 65% of the cases. Moreover, this multianalytical methodology also allowed identifying undeclared additives and the non-declared addition of vegetable sources other than saffron. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies in Detecting Food Fraud and Authenticity)
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17 pages, 4911 KiB  
Article
Development of Seven New dPCR Animal Species Assays and a Reference Material to Support Quantitative Ratio Measurements of Food and Feed Products
by Kate R. Griffiths, Jacob L. H. McLaughlin, Felicity Hall, Lina Partis, Samuel C. Hansen, Rachel Tulloch and Daniel G. Burke
Foods 2023, 12(20), 3839; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12203839 - 20 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 5218
Abstract
Laboratory testing methods to confirm the identity of meat products and eliminate food fraud regularly rely on PCR amplification of extracted DNA, with most published assays detecting mitochondrial sequences, providing sensitive presence/absence results. By targeting single-copy nuclear targets instead, relative quantification measurements are [...] Read more.
Laboratory testing methods to confirm the identity of meat products and eliminate food fraud regularly rely on PCR amplification of extracted DNA, with most published assays detecting mitochondrial sequences, providing sensitive presence/absence results. By targeting single-copy nuclear targets instead, relative quantification measurements are achievable, providing additional information on the proportions of meat species detected. In this Methods paper, new assays for horse, donkey, duck, kangaroo, camel, water buffalo and crocodile have been developed to expand the range of species that can be quantified, and a previously published reference assay targeting the myostatin gene has been modified to include marsupials and reptiles. The accuracy of this ratio measurement approach was demonstrated using dPCR with mixtures of meat DNA down to 0.1%. However, the limit of detection (LOD) of this approach is not just determined by the assay targets, but by the samples themselves, with food or feed ingredients and processing impacting the DNA yield and integrity. In routine testing settings, the myostatin assay can provide multiple quality control roles, including monitoring the yield and purity of extracted DNA, identifying the presence of additional meats not detected by the suite of species-specific assays and potentially estimating a sample-specific LOD based on measured copy numbers of the myostatin target. In addition to the myostatin positive control assay, a synthetic DNA reference material (RM) has been designed, containing PCR targets for beef, pork, sheep, chicken, goat, kangaroo, horse, water buffalo and myostatin, to be used as a positive template control. The availability of standardised measurement methods and associated RMs significantly improves the reliability, comparability and transparency of laboratory testing, leading to greater confidence in results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies in Detecting Food Fraud and Authenticity)
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18 pages, 2964 KiB  
Article
Development of a Rapid and Non-Destructive Method for the Detection of Water Addition in Octopus Species (Octopus vulgaris and Eledone cirrhosa) Using Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR)
by Bárbara Teixeira, Helena Vieira, Sandra Martins and Rogério Mendes
Foods 2023, 12(7), 1461; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12071461 - 29 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1355
Abstract
Consumer expectations regarding the quality of octopus are often frustrated and dissatisfaction is frequent, namely due to the excessive reduction in weight after cooking. Therefore, a rapid and non-destructive method based in time domain reflectometry (TDR) was developed for the control of water [...] Read more.
Consumer expectations regarding the quality of octopus are often frustrated and dissatisfaction is frequent, namely due to the excessive reduction in weight after cooking. Therefore, a rapid and non-destructive method based in time domain reflectometry (TDR) was developed for the control of water added to octopus (Octopus vulgaris and Eledone cirrhosa). O. vulgaris had significant higher values of moisture content, moisture/protein ratio, and cooking loss than E. cirrhosa. Immersion in freshwater increased the weight of O. vulgaris in ca. 32% after 32 h, and of E. cirrhosa in ca. 21% after 36 h, and cooking losses increased about 13.9% and 26.1%, respectively. The results reveal how consumers can be misled by abusive water addition. Changes in electrical conductivity and TDR curves were linked with the increasing incorporation of water and dilution effect of salts from octopus muscle. TDR technology and linear discriminant analysis were combined to detect added water in octopus. The classification model developed was cross-validated and 98.6% of samples were correctly classified. The method can be used to proof the authenticity of octopus (O. vulgaris and E. cirrhosa) or to detect fraudulent practices regarding added water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies in Detecting Food Fraud and Authenticity)
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Review

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13 pages, 697 KiB  
Review
Recent and Advanced DNA-Based Technologies for the Authentication of Probiotic, Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Fermented Foods and Beverages
by Vincenzina Fusco, Francesca Fanelli and Daniele Chieffi
Foods 2023, 12(20), 3782; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12203782 - 14 Oct 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
The authenticity of probiotic products and fermented foods and beverages that have the status of protected designation of origin (PDO) or geographical indication (PGI) can be assessed via numerous methods. DNA-based technologies have emerged in recent decades as valuable tools to achieve food [...] Read more.
The authenticity of probiotic products and fermented foods and beverages that have the status of protected designation of origin (PDO) or geographical indication (PGI) can be assessed via numerous methods. DNA-based technologies have emerged in recent decades as valuable tools to achieve food authentication, and advanced DNA-based methods and platforms are being developed. The present review focuses on the recent and advanced DNA-based techniques for the authentication of probiotic, PDO and PGI fermented foods and beverages. Moreover, the most promising DNA-based detection tools are presented. Strain- and species-specific DNA-based markers of microorganisms used as starter cultures or (probiotic) adjuncts for the production of probiotic and fermented food and beverages have been exploited for valuable authentication in several detection methods. Among the available technologies, propidium monoazide (PMA) real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based technologies allow for the on-time quantitative detection of viable microbes. DNA-based lab-on-a-chips are promising devices that can be used for the on-site and on-time quantitative detection of microorganisms. PCR-DGGE and metagenomics, even combined with the use of PMA, are valuable tools allowing for the fingerprinting of the microbial communities, which characterize PDO and PGI fermented foods and beverages, and they are necessary for authentication besides permitting the detection of extra or mislabeled species in probiotic products. These methods, in relation to the authentication of probiotic foods and beverages, need to be used in combination with PMA, culturomics or flow cytometry to allow for the enumeration of viable microorganisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Technologies in Detecting Food Fraud and Authenticity)
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