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J Food Prot. 2004 Jan;67(1):172-7.

PCR identification of beef, sheep, goat, and pork in raw and heat-treated meat mixtures.

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Departamento de Nutrición y Bromatología III, Higiene y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain.


A PCR assay has been developed for the specific and qualitative detection of pork (Sus scrofa domesticus), beef (Bos taurus), sheep (Ovis aries), and goat (Capra hircus) in raw and heat-treated meat mixtures. A forward common primer was designed on a conserved DNA sequence in the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal RNA gene (rRNA), and reverse primers were designed to hybridize on species-specific DNA sequences of each species considered. The different sizes of the species-specific amplicons, separated by agarose gel electrophoresis, allowed clear species identification. Analysis of experimental meat mixtures demonstrated that the detection limit of the assay was 1% (wt/wt) for each species analyzed. This assay can be useful for the accurate identification of these species, avoiding mislabeling or fraudulent species substitution in meat mixtures.

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