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Mass Spectrometry in Authenticity Testing and Allergen Detection: Novel Approaches from Food Proteomics

Learn more about food proteomics and how analytical approaches based on this discipline can help with allergen detection. Professor Jens Brockmeyer provides an interesting overview.

Food proteomics has emerged as a novel and promising approach in food analysis in recent years. The incredible increase in performance of MS instruments in the last 15 years now allows for the highly parallel collection of complex structural and quantitative data. This can be employed to distinguish highly similar biological entities based on minor differences in the proteome (food authenticity testing) or to specifically detect trace amounts of potentially harmful proteins (Allergen or Gluten detection). A further advantage of food proteomics is the possibility to develop multiplex approaches and to tailor methods for the specific individual needs.

The development and application of a food proteomics-based authenticity testing method in a difficult matrix is exemplified with the differentiation of tuna species. Tuna are taxonomically very closely related, differ significantly in price and therefore are ideal targets for food fraud. As an additional approach, the application of global protein signatures to detect food fraud without prior suspicion is presented.

For the detection of food allergens, the development of a multiplex method is described and pitfalls in allergen analysis are discussed.

The presentation is given by Prof. Jens Brockmeyer (Institute of Biochemistry and Technical Biochemistry, University Stuttgart), who holds a PhD in food chemistry and is currently professor for analytical food chemistry at the University of Stuttgart. His research focus is on different aspects of Food Proteomics including method development, structural characterization of food allergens and allergen detection, food authenticity, and systems biology in food.

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