Food adulteration is a subset of food fraud and has been a serious issue for centuries. Food products with high fat content such as edible fats and oils, milk, meat, fish, marine foods, seeds and nuts are reported to be the main targets for fraudulent practices due to their high nutritional and commercial values. Modification of components in these foodstuffs will introduce an alternation of lipid profile, which can be detected by MS-based lipidomics approaches and lipid species showing significant difference are often considered as molecule markers for food adulteration detection.
The representative oil with high risk of adulteration is olive oil and there are four commercial categories based on their quality: EVOO, virgin olive oil, olive oil and pomace olive oil. In order to discriminate these olive oil categories, PLs were characterized by a targeted MS-based lipidomics method. Both qualitative and semiquantitative results indicated that unambiguous categorization of olive oil was achieved and these PLs molecules could be considered as promising markers to evaluate the quality of fruits, trace the production process and detect adulteration.
Fig1. Mean relative concentration of the different GPL found in each category of olive oil (Criado-Navarro, I.; et al, 2019)
MS-based lipidomics approaches have also been applied to identify adulteration of other food products with relative high fat content, such as milk, meat and cereals. Unlike edible oil, these foods usually contain more lipid species, and therefore more tentative lipid markers can be screened out on a global scale by using untargeted lipidomics approaches.For example, difference in the lipid pattern among durum and common wheat was revealed by UPLC-Q-TOF-MS analysis. Results showed that heptadecylresorcinol and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG) 36:4 could be used as significant markers for the discrimination of durum and common whole grain flour and refined flour, respectively.
Fig2. Untargeted lipidomics reveals differences in the lipid pattern among durum and common wheat (Righetti, Laura.; et al, 2018)
Creative Proteomics provides reliable, rapid, and cost-effective lipidomics services in food adulteration detection. We will use our expertise to help you interpret the results and provide you with actionable recommendations on how to utilize these results in your research or business.
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