Food safety is becoming increasingly important. One of the solutions to fight against food forgery is the DNA analysis aimed at identifying the origin of meat even in a processed form.
The solution is a result of the consortium`s project, which was set up for the research on the methodology of meat DNA testing in 2014-2015. Consortium consists of six members: three research institutes (Research Institute for Animal Breeding and Nutrition (ÁTK); Central Food Research Institute (KÉKI); Agricultural Biotechnology Center (MBK), two enterprises dealing with biotechnology (Biomi Ltd, WESSLING Hungary Ltd.) and Olmos and Tóth Ltd, an enterprise concerning animal production.
The objectives of project were to work out a diagnostic methodology in order to help:
- Follow-up and identify the product made from “Mangalica” pig (the first experiments were carried out on Mangalica pigs;
- Unveil the forgeries of food products;
- Ensure the clarification of the food law background and protection of “Mangalica” product;
- Set up a databank of DNA and body tissue to ensure the maintenance of the breed and the production of high quality meat products;
- Create a database to follow-up the genetic properties.
- The process of DNA-analysis by specific markers includes sampling the meat (processed meat too) to investigate its origin. DNA analysing methods are getting cheaper today, and so costs of the control procedures are decreasing.
The methodology is based on a Mangalica-specific sequence examined and owned by Hungary and uses two approaches:
- One approach is to use QPCR method in laboratory environment. It requires sample collection and transfer to the lab. Results are given as percentage ratio of Mangalica even in mixed products (e.g. sausage or liver pate). The specific sequence is not available in the literature. This method requires one Mangalica specific primer pair with a probe, and one pig specific primer pair with a probe. For reliability reasons at least three parallel reactions are required. Sample processing might require a few hours. Price per sample is around 10 EUR.
- Another approach is to use specific sequence on the spot (laboratory or well trained staff are not required). Results are given as a "Yes” or "No” answer to the question: "Does a given product contain Mangalica meat?” Sample processing is extremely simple. This method is described in the literature.
Approaches require different equipment:
- QPCR machine, usually not portable. Sample preparation takes at least 1-2 hours. Reaction time is around two hours. Simplest QPCR is available from 3000 EUR.
- Fast quantitative test with portable minilab (TwirlaTM). Sample preparation takes 15-20 minutes. Reaction time is around 20 minutes, followed by a 5-minute detection on a test strip. (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12161-015-0261-0). Price is around 300 EUR. This test requires test strips and isothermal amplification kit (TwistDx Company) and specific primer-probe set. Price per sample is around 10 EUR.
- Equipment: TwistaTM: Sample preparation is from 3 minutes to 1-2 hours. Reaction time is around 10 minutes. Price is around 250 EUR. The technology can be developed on other domestic animal breeds too.
The main impact of the solutions is rise of quality and reliability of products. It can stabilize a market of those special products where breed is important as a “base material”. The solution elaborated in every detail can serve as a standardized methodology for the official control to check sold meat products.
Partners: Research Institute for Animal Breeding and Nutrition (ÁTK) (as main implementor); Central Food Research Institute (KÉKI); Agricultural Biotechnology Center (MBK), Biomi Ltd, WESSLING Hungary Ltd., Olmos and Tóth Ltd.
Hungary Ministry of Agriculture
Tamas Szobolevszki, Head of the Animal Breeding Unit:
National Agricultural and Innovation Centre: