Researchers in China and Canada have developed a a highly specific and robust method to identify donkey meat that coupled a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with lateral flow immunoassay (LFI). Donkey-specific PCR primers were designed by targeting the mitochondrial D-loop gene, and their specificity was verified in silico and in vitro against 22 species involved in meat authentication. The PCR-LFI assay gave a limit of detection as low as 0.001% w/w (raw) and 0.01% w/w (cooked) donkey meat in beef. The LFI strip-based visualisation of PCR products allowed for a 10-fold higher sensitivity than conventional gel electrophoresis, and significantly reduced the analysis time for the post-PCR analysis. This PCR-LFI is highly suitable for rapid identification of donkey or incorporation into multiplex screening protocol for other meat authentication.
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