honey authentication (2)

Authentication of Incense Honey by Real-Time PCR

10948956673?profile=RESIZE_400x Incense honey, which is a unique nectar honey from the Azores archipelago, should contain over 30 % of pollen grains of the incense plant (Pittosporum undulatum Vent). In this study, a real-time PCR approach using a TaqMan probe to target the ITS region of P. undulatum was developed to specifically detect and quantify incense DNA in honey. The ITS marker developed and used for authenticating incense honey, showed high specificity against several plant species, including endemic species from the Azores archipelago, and high sensitivity, down to 0.01 pg of DNA, for P. undulatum. The method was successfully applied to 22 honey samples, from which incense DNA  was detected in all 9 monofloral incense honeys, and in 50 % of the multifloral samples from the Azores. Generally, the quantitative results for incense DNA were in good agreement with the melyssopalynological analysis, showing that all samples complied with their labelling, except for 2 multifloral honey samples that should have been classified as monofloral of clover and monofloral of incense.

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Honey is a high value food which suffers from food fraud, and it is important to have methods to verify its floral and geographical origin. Italian researchers isolated DNA from nine honeys (six monofloral honeys produced in Italy, two polyfloral honeys produced in East Europe and Chile respectively, and one honeydew honey), and PCR amplified for a chloroplast trnL barcoding fragment. The amplicons were sequenced and the data bioinformatically analysed against a database of 150,000 botanical entries. A total of 254 botanical groups were identified from the nine analysed samples.

The prevalent expected botanical origin was confirmed in five out of six monofloral honeys. The plant signature of the labelled lime tree blossom honey did not confirm the expected botanical prevalence. The botanical composition of monofloral and polyfloral honey samples was useful to infer their geographical origin. 

Read the abstract at: NGS authentication of honey

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