DNA from the mitochondria – cell organelles – is ideal for distinguishing between species. One of its components in particular, cytochrome b, is a genetic marker that scientists use to establish relationships between genera and families, and is also used by some forensic laboratories to identify animals that appear at crime scenes (cats or insects, for example).
Now, for the first time, researchers from the National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (ANFACO-CECOPESCA, Spain) have used this technique in order to genetically identify small pelagic (non-coastal) species, such as sardines and horse mackerel. This study was supported by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and Spain's Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM).
"These molecular tools represent a great step forward for the sector, since they enable fisheries imports to be monitored and tracked, and also ensure they are correctly labelled", Montserrat Espiñeira, a biologist for ANFACO-CECOPESCA and lead researcher of the study, tells SINC.
By using this method, the team was able to identify more than 20 species from the sardine group (genera such as Sardina, Sardinella, Clupea, Ophistonoma and Ilisha) and a similar number of horse mackerel species (Trachurus, Caranx, Mullus, Rastrelliger and others), originating from seas all over the world.
The methodology involved gathering a sample of mitochondrial DNA from the fish (even if it was canned or processed), amplifying a fragment of cytochrome b (using a polymerase chain reaction – PCR) and, lastly, carrying out a phylogenetic analysis by obtaining a "forensically informative nucleotide sequencing" (FINS).
The research on the sardines was published this month in the journal European Food Research and Technology, while the one on the horse mackerel was issued in March in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The researchers are now focusing on analysing the distinct organoleptic, microbiological, physical-chemical and nutritional properties of the species analysed, and are also looking into whether some currently unexploited species could be of interest from a consumer perspective. "The end goal is to improve the management of fisheries resources and ensure they are sustainably exploited", explains Espiñeira.
The team is also developing rapid molecular identification methodologies (based on the Real Time-PCR technique), which will make it possible to distinguish between the most commercially-valuable small pelagic fish species – the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus), the European sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and the main species of horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus) – simply and in less than three hours.
Fátima C. Lago, Beatriz Herrero, Juan M. Vieites, Montserrat Espiñeira. "FINS methodology to identification of sardines and related species in canned products and detection of mixture by means of SNP analysis systems". European Food Research and Technology, May 2011 (on line). DOI: 10.1007/s00217-011-1481-1.
Ftima C. Lago, Beatriz Herrero, Juan M. Vieites, Montserrat Espiñeira. "Genetic Identification of Horse Mackerel and Related Species in Seafood Products by Means of Forensically Informative Nucleotide Sequencing Methodology". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 59 (6): 2223�, March 2011. DOI: 10.1021/jf104505q.
SINC | EurekAlert!
At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History
New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy