BACKGROUND: There are many DNA-based systems for detecting animal species present in food and food products, applicable for food quality control and authentication. However, most (if not all) methods require more than one pair of primers and cannot be applied over a wide taxonomic range, e.g. identifying vertebrates and invertebrates with the same primers and protocols.
RESULTS: A pair of primers is described here that allows in a single polymerase chain reaction the identification of animal species in food and processed (precooked, canned or smoked) food products over a wide taxonomic range.
CONCLUSION: These primers permit the identification of most animal taxa employed in human nutrition, from invertebrates such as molluscs to higher vertebrates, distinguishing between species of the same genus. The short fragment amplified within the 16S rDNA exhibits phylogenetic value and could be considered universal based on the wide taxonomic range assayed. The primers are easy to use and accessible for laboratories with a modest budget, as well as being valuable for consumer information and to reveal food fraud. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry