12671861055?profile=RESIZE_400xThe similar morphological characteristics among different species of lavers (types of seaweed) make them vulnerable to food fraud. In this study (purchase required) the authors developed a portable microfluidic quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method to monitor six laver species, comparing its effectiveness with conventional qPCR. The portable microfluidic qPCR system used a plate-shaped heat block for rapid heat transfer, combined with a microfluidic-based biochip for quick detection. The primers were specifically designed to target the chloroplast genes rbcL and rbcS.

The authors reported that specificity using 17 seaweed species showed no cross-reactivity, and the sensitivity of the assay was 1 × 10−4 ng. They enhanced the portable microfluidic qPCR for field applications by integrating it with a simple DNA extraction method. To validate the on-site rapid identification of laver species, they evaluated 79 laver samples collected from fish farms in Korea and commercially available laver products. They discovered instances where products were adulterated with cheaper species or replaced with others that resemble them.

They conclude that the method is rapid, sensitive, reliable, and applicable for effectively managing and monitoring lavers in the supply chain.

Photo by Benjamin L. Jones on Unsplash

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