Application of Metabolomics in Food Testing

The most striking feature of metabolomics is its overall analytical ability to better reflect the impact of the environment on food composition. However, metabolomics does not appear to be rapidly hotter as proteomics, but rather shows a slowly rising trend.

 

In order to ensure the interests of consumers, the identification of food quality, especially traceability of the origin, has become the focus of food analysis technology. From the new products launched by many testing companies, the application of metabolomics in the analysis of food authenticity is generally optimistic. With the further study of metabolomics, the authenticity of food is expected to be known.

 

Authenticity identification has become a hot area

Driven by huge economic interests, the falsification of the origin of food industry and the incorporation of cheap raw materials in food production have repeatedly been banned. For this reason, more and more analytical techniques are beginning to be applied to the identification of food quality and origin.

 

At the 5th International Forum on China’s Food and Agricultural Products Safety Testing Technology and Quality Control held recently, experts in the field of food safety testing have proposed many effective methods for various endangered food fraud (adhesion) events.

 

For example, for the identification of the species characteristics of meat products, Shi Xiju, a researcher at the Beijing Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, said that microscopic methods for the observation of microstructures, PCR and restriction enzymes for detecting nucleic acids, and fluorescent PCR methods are commonly used, and the future tends to be high-throughput and fast. Simple methods, such as LC/MS technology and test strips. In the fields of grain fats, meat and dairy products, fermentation and nutrition, low-field NMR technology has a wide range of applications such as non-destructive, rapid, and more intuitive imaging, such as grain quality classification, grease quality testing, non-destructive testing of fruits and vegetables, Microbial fermentation monitoring, meat moisture migration, etc. In addition, infrared spectroscopy can simultaneously measure multiple component data of a substance by simply measuring the primary infrared spectrum of the sample in tens of seconds or even seconds. It is now also used for the identification of various food adulterations. .

 

Metabolomics is expected to be an effective means

As an important branch of systems biology, metabolomics is widely used in drug research, disease diagnosis, plant breeding, environmental science and other fields. In a general sense, metabolomics uses statistical analysis to compare differences between two or more sets of samples, to find and identify biomarkers, and to analyze metabolic pathways to reveal biological significance.

 

Metabolomics analyzes metabolites on a large scale, focusing on the widest range of small molecules rather than just focusing on a certain set of metabolites. Metabolomics is the observation of changes in small molecule metabolites with relative molecular weights of less than 1200 Daltons or their changes over time by examining the stimulation or perturbation of biological systems. Metabolomics analysis techniques can be divided into targeted metabolomics and untargeted metabolomics, depending on the subject and purpose of the study. Known and unknown chemicals can be analyzed. It can be said that when traditional sensory index evaluation and routine quality index detection can not effectively distinguish adulterated and counterfeit food, metabolomics technology can quickly and accurately identify adulterated food.

 

Taking the identification of the most common red wine producing areas as an example, the mass spectrometry and spectral data generated by metabolic fingerprinting and metabolic profile can identify the type, source and even vintage of the wine. The traditional method for judging the quality of grapes used for winemaking is generally to determine their sugar, acidity, pH and total phenolic content, respectively. By establishing metabolite fingerprints of mature grapes from different wine producing regions, they can be identified and some are temporarily unrecognizable. Metabolite fingerprinting of metabolite components is not possible with traditional methods.

 

A great advance in metabolomics is expected, using new mass spectrometry interfaces that require little sample preparation, and the ability to analyze protein and metabolites at the tissue and single cell levels using MALDI imaging mass spectrometry to obtain information on the spatial distribution of specific molecules. Sample preparation methods and improvements in analytical platforms will enhance the relevance of food metabolomics research. In addition, capillary electrophoresis and capillary mass spectrometry are ideal tools for metabolomics research because they do not require extensive sample preparation, have a wide range of applications, high efficiency, high resolution, and low sample consumption.