A rapid UHPLC-MS/MS screening method for the detection of the addition of porcine blood plasma to emulsion-type pork sausages
The adulteration of meat products by the undeclared addition of commercially available blood plasma powder is quite conceivable due to low costs, high protein contents (about 70%), and advantageous functional properties. This applies particularly to pork, which has the highest meat production rate in the European Union. Evidence of this type of food fraud has been rather difficult to identify due to the lack of appropriate analytical methods, especially when adding plasma to meat of the same animal species. Consequently, a rapid UHPLC-MS/MS method for the detection of porcine blood plasma in emulsion-type pork sausages was developed. After protein extraction and tryptic digestion in a quick and simple one-pot process, species-specific marker peptides for porcine blood cell proteins (four markers) and plasma proteins (12 markers) were measured by UHPLC-MS/MS. Emulsion-type pork sausages were produced from a variety of raw materials that differed in the age or sex of the slaughtered pigs. Sausages were spiked with 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, or 5% meat substitution by one of two plasma powders, or produced as corresponding blank samples, and subjected to different thermal treatments as full or semi-preserves. Four plasma peptides were identified for the overall sample that allowed detection down to 0.7% meat substitution from the sum of their peak areas, with 5% error probability for both false positives and negatives.
KeywordsPorcine blood plasma Pork sausages Meat substitution Mass spectrometry Marker peptides Food fraud
The authors would like to thank Sebastian Zimmermann for his valuable support in veterinarian questions, Yvonne Höhn and Liane Weber for their excellent technical assistance, and Manfred Behrschmidt, Josef Haida, and Marco Zäh for the professional production of the various sausages.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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