DNA-based Food Authenticity and Safety Control using Advanced Barcoding by Next Generation Sequencing

Ilka Haase, Christine Käppel, Elmar Schilling
Eurofins Genomics, Germany

DNA-based methods have become a common tool for the analysis of plant, animal and also microbial species in food and feed. But especially since the horse meat scandal in 2013, authenticity as well as safety control of food and feed by DNA is on the spotlight. Sanger Sequencing of several barcoding regions is the state of the art analysis for animal, plant and microbial species identification in food and environmental samples with unknown composition. However, the identification and determination of species in complex products by this approach is challenging due to the widespread diversity of species that might be present and the overlay of the sequences of all species in the Sanger chromatogram. This tool is therefore perfectly suited for to the analysis of pure samples but is limited to mixtures of at most two species. Eurofins is therefore developing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods for the species identification in mixed samples to overcome this limitation. Many NGS publications concerning metagenomics/metabarcoding studies focus predominantly on microbial populations in environmental samples. In the meantime, also zoological studies use NGS for the analysis of faecal samples of herbivores as well as carnivores in order to get insights into their diets and habitats. In the food and feed sector, NGS is so far only mainly used for the analysis of food-borne pathogens and starter cultures in fermentation processes. However, constantly declining costs in the NGS field makes the methods attractive also for routine analysis of food, feed and environmental samples in the future. The oral presentation will give an overview on the ongoing developments at Eurofins.

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