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Authentication of leguminous-based products by targeted biomarkers using high resolution time of flight mass spectrometry

Huschek, Gerd, Bönick, Josephine, Merkel, Dietrich, Huschek, Doreen, Rawel, Harshadrai
Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft + [i.e. und] Technologie 2018 v.90 pp. 164-171
Pisum sativum subsp. sativum var. sativum, biomarkers, convicilin, fraud, honey, ingredients, laws and regulations, mass spectrometry, meat, meat consumption, myostatin, peas, plant-based foods, product authenticity, proteomics, spectrometers, vegan diet, vicilin
A growing number of health-conscious individuals supplements their diet with protein-rich plant-based products to reduce their meat consumption. Analytical methods are needed to authenticate these new vegetarian products not only for the correct labelling of ingredients according to European legislation but also to discourage food fraud. This paper presents new biomarkers for a targeted proteomics LC-MS/MS work-flow that can simultaneously prove the presence/absence of garden pea, a protein-rich legume, meat and honey and quantify their content in processed vegan food. We show a novel rapid strategy to identify biomarkers for species authentication and the steps for the multi-parameter LC-MS/MS method validation and quantification. A high resolution triple time of flight mass spectrometer (HRMS) with SWATH Acquisition was used for the rapid discovery of all measurable trypsin-digested proteins in the individual ingredients. From these proteins, species-selective biomarkers were identified with BLAST and Skyline. Vicilin and convicilin (UniProt: D3VND9, Q9M3X6) allow pea authentication with regard to other legume species. Myostatin (UniProt: O18831) is a single biomarker for all meat types. For honey, we identified three selective proteins (UniProt: C6K481, C6K482, Q3L6329). The final LC-MS/MS method can identity and quantify these markers simultaneously. Quantification occurs via external matrix calibration.