Authenticity testing – turning analytical innovation into practical reality
Campden BRI case study
A long–term association between Campden BRI and Agilent Technologies on DNA and protein analysis has brought significant practical benefits to industry, Government and both Agilent and Campden BRI. Its current applications range from cereal variety testing and screening foods for GMO–containing material, to species testing of fish and meat (including exotic meats and bush meat), and verifying the identity of Basmati rice and other plant species (e.g. fruit, cereals & potatoes).
Ronda Allen of Agilent comments: "We could see that the Lab–on–a–Chip system had significant potential for food analysis. Following its development in 2001, we were eager to explore potential applications. We wanted to work with an independent partner that had the scientific and technical skills in the area of DNA analysis, the understanding of the key issues surrounding food and drink technology, and the credibility with industry and Government to encourage them to exploit potential applications."
At Campden BRI, we were equally keen to put the instrument through its paces to see what it had to offer the food and drinks industry. As well as working with Agilent on the systems application for wheat protein characterisation we began to explore its potential for DNA-based tests for detecting genetically modified ingredients. We also obtained funding from the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) to evaluate the system for fish species identification via DNA analysis.
A successful outcome led to an FSA–funded inter–laboratory study in which Agilent provided instrument loans and Campden BRI provided training to those taking part. This in turn led to a number of FSA funded projects developing applications for the lab–on–a–chip instrument, as well as. FSA support for local authority public analysts to acquire DNA analysis equipment – including lab–on–a–chip capillary electrophoresis. We played a major role in training these laboratories in both DNA analysis and fish species identification.
We continue to collaborate with Agilent to help them deliver specific reagent kits and software for lab–on–a–chip capillary electrophoresis food–orientated applications, as well as in the characterisation of cereal proteins.