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Can LC-MS/MS Be Used in Horse Meat Detection?
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Most testing methods are based on detection of species-specific DNA in meat, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) – which does not detect or identify proteins. This is a concern because DNA can be easily disrupted or removed during standard meat processing and food manufacturing. As a result, horse tissue or other contaminants remain undetected in food samples, despite strong presence of the contaminating proteins. An alternative protein-based method, ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), can be used to complement DNA testing, but this method has limitations, including that it detects only one part of the protein and not multiple protein markers. 

This application note presents an LC-MS/MS-based method that offers a more accurate and reliable approach to meat speciation than PCR or ELISA based techniques or other indirect methods, and also allows for the detection of veterinary drug residues in the same analysis, which is not possible by ELISA or PCR. 

The method was developed using an Eksigent ekspert™ microLC 200 UHPLC system coupled with an AB SCIEX QTRAP® 5500 LC/MS/MS system.

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