Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

Development of a MALDI-TOF MS-Based Protein Fingerprint Database of Common Food Fish Allowing Fast and Reliable Identification of Fraud and Substitution.

PMID 28745053


Fish substitution and fish fraud are widely observed in the global food market. To detect and prevent substitution, DNA-based methods do not always meet the demand of being time- and cost-efficient; therefore, methodology improvements are needed. The use of species-specific protein patterns, as determined by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry, has recently improved species identification of prokaryotes both time- and cost-wise. We used the method to establish a database containing protein patterns of common food fish prone to substitution. The database currently comprises 54 fish species. Aspects such as the sensitivity of identification on the species level and the impact of bacterial contamination of fish filets are assessed. Most database entries are characterized by low intraspecies but high interspecies variability. Hitherto, 118 validation samples were successfully determined. The results presented herein underline the potential and reliability of eukaryotic species identification via MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry.