GERMANY, Bonn. Partners from science and industry have developed molecular fingerprints of foodstuffs, along with a data management system and initial practical applications.
As the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) further announced in a note on the joint project "Analytical Tools for Experimental Verification of Food Origin and Identity (FoodProfiling)," which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, scientists from the University of Hamburg, the Leibniz Institute of Food Systems Biology at the Technical University (TU) of Munich, the University of Hohenheim and the University of Tübingen recorded high-resolution data at all relevant cellular levels of the food and completed the investigations with high-resolution elemental and isotopic profile analyses.
Based on the different data profiles of the foodstuffs, the partners involved had already developed the first uncomplicated methods for authenticating foodstuffs that could be used in practice, the BLE reported. These are available for adaptation and further development, so that in the future even scientifically untrained personnel will be able to verify the origin and identity of food. The aim of the close cooperation between research institutions and commercial enterprises is to improve food safety.
The analyses initially focused on truffles and walnuts. With the water-rich, low-fat truffles and the water-poor, high-fat walnuts, the researchers could cover a wide range of foods and transfer their findings to other commercially relevant foods. Within the project, this would include, for example, distinguishing between different types of fish, spices or so-called superfoods such as chia seeds and quinoa.