Protein profiling

Protein profiling - how can it improve food safety and traceability?

By Reka Haraszi - 6 March 2017

We've recently started a new three year member-funded project looking at the use of protein profiling for assessing food safety and traceability. The aim is to explore, develop and apply mass spectrometry-based methods for a range of proteins (including allergens) found in complex matrices. We’re now looking for Campden BRI members to highlight their areas of interest.

What is protein profiling?

Proteins and their peptide derivatives are responsible for food allergy, food functionality, nutritional properties (e.g. satiety) and food structure. Mass spectrometry offers a potentially powerful approach for detecting specific protein molecules and building a ‘protein profile’ for a sample. This could make the detection of marker molecules in complex matrices more efficient and enhance food safety and traceability.

Current challenges

Using immunoassay-based methods to test proteins may give rise to false positives due to cross-reactivity. Mass spectrometry could be used to distinguish between these different proteins for the purpose of identification or confirmation.

New methods

This research will ultimately lead to new methods for identifying and profiling proteins, including confirmatory tests for food allergens and tests to identify the species/source of materials.

How can you help?

We would like members to suggest applications that could potentially benefit from this project work and share their experience of approaches to protein profiling. Two examples include identifying the cereal source of gluten and identifying the animal origin of gelatin.

If you would like to take part in the project and explore the applications of this powerful analytical technique, please get in touch to make a suggestion or to find out more.

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