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Applied Markets News: Life Tech, Japanese Group's Foreign Eel ID Test; Instant Labs' Salmonella Assay


This article has been updated from a previous version to provide more specific information about the AOAC certification of InstantLabs' assay.

Japan's Shizuoka Institute of Science and Technology, Life Technologies, and other collaborators have jointly developed an inexpensive and accurate DNA analysis method that can be used for quality control in eels for culinary use.

The test, which is based on a technology called foreign species allele-specific PCR, or AS-PCR, can detect and determine the mixing rate of one foreign species of eel from 1,000 to 10,000 specimen batches supposed to be all Japanese (Anguilla japonica) eels.

Using a small tissue sample, the test can determine the species type and number of species within a given test batch. Reagent cost per sample is about ¥10 ($0.12), which may allow the test to be used for quality control of actual products. In line with rising prices of domestic eels, preparation for field test appraisal is underway, Life Tech said.

There has been increasing concern over soaring prices of Japanese eel due to extremely low catch numbers in recent years, Life Tech said. While the cause is unknown, and this year in particular held record low numbers, Japanese companies have been importing non-indigenous farmed eels from Australia and other nations to address the issue. As a result, there exists a high possibility of confusion when identifying a particular species type.

Previous methods tested individual DNA specimens, initially incurring reagent costs of around ¥500 ($6) per sample; however, additional procedures required by private inspection agencies raised the actual cost to between ¥10,000 and ¥30,000, Life Tech said.

The new test runs on the Life Technologies ABI 7500 Fast thermal cycler in batches of 1,000 to 10,000, thereby drastically reducing the cost of the test.

Other entities collaborating on the method's development included Hikari, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Cohki, and Atsumi.

Life Tech said that the DNA batch test method can also be applied to all types of common food products.

Life Technologies also said this week that the US Food and Drug Administration has extended its recent method equivalency finding of the Applied Biosystems TaqMan Salmonella Enteritidis Detection Kit to test poultry eggs for additional use on environmental samples at production houses where the breakfast staple is handled and packaged.

The kit had previously received interim approval for environmental sample testing by the National Poultry Improvement Plan, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, which governs safety standards at poultry houses that produce animals for human consumption. This equivalency finding gives Life Technologies regulatory approvals for testing Salmonella enteritidis in egg and poultry houses.

InstantLabs said this week that its Salmonella Species Test Kit has been certified as Performance-Tested Methods No. 031202 by the AOAC Research Institute for the detection of Salmonella spp. in grains.

The award follows independent laboratory studies conducted by Food Safety Net Services. The PTM certification mark is widely recognized by a variety of organizations and government agencies and is awarded to products that have passed unbiased and rigorous evaluation, including tests for usability, success rates, task times, and user satisfaction.

InstantLabs' Salmonella Species Test Kit, designed for use with its integrated Hunter real-time PCR instrument, aims to improve the process for detection of the relevant bacteria in food products. The assay enables the rapid and accurate detection of certain Salmonella serotypes.