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Quantification of species-specific meat proteins in cooked and smoked sausages using infusion mass spectrometry

Montowska, Magdalena, Spychaj, Anita
Journal of food science and technology 2018 v.55 no.12 pp. 4984-4993
adulterated products, beef, cattle, detection limit, fraud, heat stability, horse meat, horses, ions, mass spectrometry, myoglobin, pork, screening, smoked sausage, species diversity, swine
Label-free quantification combined with high-resolution infusion-based mass spectrometry (MS) was evaluated to authenticate ‘horse sausages’ made from horse meat and pork. Four types of industrially processed sausages, including cooked horse meat, pork and beef, and their mixtures were analysed. Quantitation and evaluation of the species composition were based on a set of 11 species-specific meat proteins and 14 unique heat-stable peptide markers. Using infusion MS, the highest distinguishing value was found in four proteins, namely, horse myosin-7 (MYH7_HORSE) and horse myoglobin (MYG_HORSE), porcine myosin-4 (MYH4_PIG) and bovine myoglobin (MYG_BOVIN). The limit of detection was 5% (w/w) for pork and beef in the three-component matrix and 1% (w/w) for horse meat. The proteins’ abundance was computed using a peak intensity measurement technique for precursor ions, based on the extracted ion currents/intensities of precursor ions. The procedure enabled discrimination between horse meat, pork and beef proteins, as well as estimation of the relative changes in protein abundance in all the examined samples. Substantial differences in the abundance of specific proteins were obtained from the pure meat samples, three-component mixtures and commercial sausages. The method may be useful in the preliminary screening of protein-rich food samples, aimed at fraud detection and estimation of the overall level of adulteration.