Identification of Pork Adulteration in Processed Meat Products Using the Developed Mitochondrial DNA-Based Primers

  • Ha, Jimyeong ;
  • Kim, Sejeong ;
  • Lee, Jeeyeon ;
  • Lee, Soomin ;
  • Lee, Heeyoung ;
  • Choi, Yukyung ;
  • Oh, Hyemin ;
  • Yoon, Yohan
  • Received : 2017.05.17
  • Accepted : 2017.06.12
  • Published : 2017.06.30


The identification of pork in commercially processed meats is one of the most crucial issues in the food industry because of religious food ethics, medical purposes, and intentional adulteration to decrease production cost. This study therefore aimed to develop a method for the detection of pork adulteration in meat products using primers specific for pig mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial DNA sequences for pig, cattle, chicken, and sheep were obtained from GenBank and aligned. The 294-bp mitochondrial DNA D-loop region was selected as the pig target DNA sequence and appropriate primers were designed using the MUSCLE program. To evaluate primer sensitivity, pork-beef-chicken mixtures were prepared as follows: i) 0% pork-50% beef-50% chicken, ii) 1% pork-49.5% beef-49.5% chicken, iii) 2% pork-49% beef-49% chicken, iv) 5% pork-47.5% beef-47.5% chicken, v) 10% pork-45% beef-45% chicken, and vi) 100% pork-0% beef-0% chicken. In addition, a total of 35 commercially packaged products, including patties, nuggets, meatballs, and sausages containing processed chicken, beef, or a mixture of various meats, were purchased from commercial markets. The primers developed in our study were able to detect as little as 1% pork in the heat treated pork-beef-chicken mixtures. Of the 35 processed products, three samples were pork positive despite being labeled as beef or chicken only or as a beef-chicken mix. These results indicate that the developed primers could be used to detect pork adulteration in various processed meat products for application in safeguarding religious food ethics, detecting allergens, and preventing food adulteration.


food authentication;PCR;processed meat products


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Supported by : Korea Institute of Planning and Evaluation for Technology in Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (IPET)