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Genes 2019, 10(3), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10030248

Food Tracking Perspective: DNA Metabarcoding to Identify Plant Composition in Complex and Processed Food Products

1
Zooplantlab, Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 2, I-20126 Milano, Italy
2
FEM2-Ambiente, Piazza della Scienza 2, I-20126 Milano, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
This paper is dedicated to the memory of our wonderful colleague, Dr. Lorenzo Bernabovi, who recently passed away.
Received: 9 February 2019 / Revised: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 25 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Barcoding and Metabarcoding of Complex Matrices)
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Abstract

One of the main goals of the quality control evaluation is to identify contaminants in raw material, or contamination after a food is processed and before it is placed on the market. During the treatment processes, contamination, both accidental and economically motivated, can generate incongruence between declared and real composition. In our study, we evaluated if DNA metabarcoding is a suitable tool for unveiling the composition of processed food, when it contains small trace amounts. We tested this method on different types of commercial plant products by using tnrL marker and we applied amplicon-based high-throughput sequencing techniques to identify plant components in different food products. Our results showed that DNA metabarcoding can be an effective approach for food traceability in different type of processed food. Indeed, the vast majority of our samples, we identified the species composition as the labels reported. Although some critical issues still exist, mostly deriving from the starting composition (i.e., variable complexity in taxa composition) of the sample itself and the different processing level (i.e., high or low DNA degradation), our data confirmed the potential of the DNA metabarcoding approach also in quantitative analyses for food composition quality control. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNA metabarcoding; trnL; molecular markers, High Throughput Sequencing; food tracking; food contaminants; processed food; food matrices; herbal products DNA metabarcoding; trnL; molecular markers, High Throughput Sequencing; food tracking; food contaminants; processed food; food matrices; herbal products
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Bruno, A.; Sandionigi, A.; Agostinetto, G.; Bernabovi, L.; Frigerio, J.; Casiraghi, M.; Labra, M. Food Tracking Perspective: DNA Metabarcoding to Identify Plant Composition in Complex and Processed Food Products. Genes 2019, 10, 248.

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