Qualitative and quantitative detection of protein and genetic traits in genetically modified food
AuthorMarkoulatos, P.; Siafakas, N.; Papathoma, A.; Nerantzis, E.; Betzios, B.; Dourtoglou, V.; Moncany, M.
Due to the market introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in crops, foods, and ingredients, legislation worldwide came face to face with the question of the use and labeling requirements on GMO crops and their derivatives. In this review, protein- and DNA-based methods, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, western blots, and qualitative and quantitative polymerase chain reaction PCR (Q-PCR) are reviewed. Qualitative detection methods for genetically modified (GM) sequences in foods have evolved rapidly during the past years. The sensitivity of these systems is extremely high, even for processed foodstuffs. However, the availability of quantitative detection methods for GMO analysis is an important prerequisite for the introduction of threshold limits for GMOs in food. The recently introduced labeling threshold for GMOs in food ingredients by the European Union has forced official food control laboratories to apply quantitative PCR methods. Taking the precision of quantitative PCR detection methods into account, suitable sample plans and sample sizes for GMO analysis are discussed. As quantitative GMO detection methods measure GMO contents of samples in relation to reference material, priority must be given to international agreements and standardization on certified reference materials. The rapidly increasing number of GM foods on the market demands the development of more advanced multidetection systems, such as microarray technology. Challenges and problems arising from the inability to detect GM foods for which the modified sequence is unknown, the lengthy standardization procedures, and the need to continuously update databases comprising commercially available GM foods and the respective detection strategies are also discussed.