new test for verifying the milk species present in cheese, including in cooked and multi-ingredient products – typified by ‘buffalo mozzarella pizza’.Since 2015, we have been working to develop new methods for the authentication of complex food products. Our approach is based upon identifying species ‘marker’ peptides in the protein component, which are identified and quantified by Multiple Reaction Monitoring Mass Spectrometry (MRM-MS). This work has led to a
Milk contains a protein, αs1-Casein, which differs between species by just a few amino acids. During sample preparation, the protein is broken down by an enzyme into peptides, and MRM-MS used to home in on distinctive marker fragments which are characteristic of the species of origin. with a very high level of sensitivity and specificity. Relative quantities of each in a mixture can also be measured accurately.
We have also worked extensively on other, processed food products (such as ready meals, canned food, etc), focusing on the meat protein components.
Contact: Prof Kate Kemsley
Open access publication: Y Gunning, L K W Fong, A D Watson, M Philo, E K Kemsley (2019) Quantitative Authenticity Testing of Buffalo Mozzarella via αs1-Casein Using Multiple Reaction Monitoring Mass Spectrometry Food Control 101 189-197
OPEN ACCESS A D Watson, Y Gunning, N M Rigby, M Philo, E K Kemsley (2015) Rapid Meat Authentication via MRM Mass Spectrometry of Myoglobin Peptides Analytical Chemistry 87, 20, 10315-10322
Open access publication: Y Gunning, A D Watson, N M Rigby, M Philo, K Peazer, E K Kemsley (2016) Species determination and quantification in mixtures using MRM mass spectrometry of peptides applied to meat authentication Journal of Visualized Experiments 115 e54420
This work has been supported by the ‘FoodIntegrity’ project [no. 613688], funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development.