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Development of quantitative and qualitative molecular biological methods
to identify plant and animal species in foods

Contract number : QLK1-2001-02373
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 3.109.579
EC contribution : € 1.395.074
Starting date : 1/12/2001
Duration : 36 Months
Scientific Officer : Rosanna d'Amario
Project website : not yet available
Dr Jutta Zagon
Federal Institute for Health Protection of Consumers and Veterinary Medicine
FG 213
Thielallee 88-92
14195 Berlin
Tel.: +49-30-84123876
Fax: +49-30-84123876
E-mail: j.zagon @

Recent investigations demonstrated that fraudulent replacement of food components as well as adverse reaction to unexpected food ingredients are quite common problems. Up to now official methods for the detection of plant and animal species in foods are mainly based on protein analysis. The project aims to develop DNA-analytical methods for qualitative and quantitative identification of plant and animal species in foods to monitor product safety and traceability. The project includes the comparison of nucleic acid-based methods with protein-based ones. A research aspect will be enhancing throughput by introducing multiplex-PCR, PCR-ELISA and chip technology. Four methods for several species will be validated in interlaboratory studies. Furthermore a public database will be established containing information about methods to identify plant and animal species in foods.


Main objectives of the project will be the development of methods suited for the monitoring of potential allergenic compounds, fraud and to ensure correct labelling. Thus a panel of species in foodstuffs will be investigated which might play a role in this regard. The project includes two aspects: development of qualitative methods which are useful to identify a broad variety of different species including exotic species, species of regional interest and hidden potential allergenic compounds. Quantitative methods will be developed with respect to threshold values for supporting the surveillance of legal requirements. Research will be performed on the following aspects: enhancing sample throughput and applicability and comparison of DNA with protein analytical methods. Four methods will be validated in interlaboratory studies. In addition a database will be developed including all information to identify species in foodstuffs.

(expected) Results and achievements
  • Recommendations on sample preparation suited also for quantitative analysis.
  • Development of qualitative DNA- and protein- based methods as well as quantitative methods.
  • Development of methods enhancing throughput in food analysis.
  • Comparison between protein- and DNA-based methods.
  • Evaluation of four methods in interlaboratory studies.
  • Establishing a database, containing these methods.


Bundesanstalt für Fleischforschung
Institut für Chemie und Physik
E.-C.-Baumann-Straße 20
95326 Kulmbach
Utrecht University
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Institute of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Yalelaan 1
PO Box 80165
3508 TD Utrecht
The Netherlands
Eurofins Scientific Ltd
Rue Pierre Adolphe Bobierre
PO Box 42301
44323 Nantes Cedex 3
Food Research Institute Vyskumny Ustav Potravinarsky
Priemyselna 4
PO Box 25
82475 Bratislava
Food Research Institute Prague
Department of Microbial Products
Radiova 7
10231 Prague 10 - Hostivar
Czech Republic
Institute of Marine Research
Department of Aquaculture
Nordnes Gt 50
PO Box 1870
5817 Bergen
Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria
Departamento de Mejora Genética y Biotecnología
Ctra la Coruna, Km 7.5
28040 Madrid
Hanse Analytik GmbH
Fahrenheitstraße 1
28359 Bremen
Agency for Biosafety Research and Assessment of Technology Impacts of the SPP
Clarastrasse 13
4058 Basel
Tib Molbiol S.R.L.
c/o Centro Biotecnologie Avanzate
Largo Rosanna Benzi 10
16132 Genova
Graz University of Technology
Institute of Bio- and Food Chemistry
Department of Food Chemistry and Technology
Petersgasse 12/II
8010 Graz
Statens Livsmedelsverk
National Food Administration
Chemistry Division 2
Hamnesplanaden 5
PO Box 622
75126 Uppsala
Nestec S.A.
Avenue Nestlé 55
1800 Vevey

Fifth Framework Programme

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