[Video] Scientists develop MasSpec pen that can identify common meat and fish in 15 seconds
News reports about food fraud, such as beef being replaced with horses Meat, cheap fish are turned into high-quality fish fillets, leading people to question whether the label is actually in the package. In order to combat food adulteration, the US Department of Agriculture conducts regular and random inspections of these products.
Although molecular techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are highly accurate, these analyses can take hours to days and are often performed in off-site laboratories. Previous studies used mass spectrometry to design more direct and on-site food analysis methods, using the number of molecular components to verify the source of meat, but they also destroyed samples in the process or required sample preparation steps.
Livia Eberlin and colleagues developed the MasSpec pen, a handheld device that can gently extract compounds from the surface of a material in just a few seconds and then analyze them on a mass spectrometer. Therefore, the team wanted to see if this device could quickly and effectively detect meat and fish fraud in pure fish fillets and ground products.
Researchers used MasSpec pens to examine the molecular composition of grain-fed and grass-fed beef, chicken, pork, lamb, venison, and five common fish collected from grocery stores. Once the tip of the device is pressed on the sample, it releases 20μL of solvent droplets, extracting a sufficient number of molecules within three seconds for accurate analysis by mass spectrometry. The whole process only takes 15 seconds, no pretreatment is required, and the liquid extraction will not damage the surface of the sample.
Then, the research team used the identified The unique model of the molecule developed a certification model, including carnosine, ansaipine, succinic acid, xanthine and taurine, to distinguish between pure meat types, beef based on feeding habits, and the difference between five kinds of fish .
Finally, the researchers used their model to analyze the test set of meat and fish. For these samples, all models have 100% accuracy to identify the source of the protein, which is as good as the current PCR method and is about 720 times faster.