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Two commonly used methodologies for species detection within processed meat products are real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a DNA-based method, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a protein-based method. In this study, a real-time PCR assay was compared to a commercial ELISA kit based on sensitivity, specificity, agreement among duplicate samples, cost, time, and ease of use. Fifteen reference samples containing known percentages (0.1–99.9%, w/w) of pork and beef were analyzed in duplicate using both methods. Thirty commercial products, including sausages, pet treats, and canned meats, were also tested in duplicate with each method. Reference sample analysis showed real-time PCR was able to detect pork in duplicate samples at 0.10% and beef at 0.50% in the binary mixtures. ELISA detected pork in duplicate samples at 10.0% and beef at 1.00% in the binary mixtures. When the results of reference and commercial samples were combined, real-time PCR demonstrated the greatest agreement among duplicate samples, at 96.7%, compared to 95.6% agreement for ELISA. The real-time PCR assay used in this study was found to be less expensive, while ELISA was less time-consuming and easier to perform. Both methods were successful at identifying species in ground meats, sausage, and deli meat samples; however, pet treats and canned meats proved more challenging. Overall, it was determined that the real-time PCR assay was optimal for species identification in processed meat products when a low detection limit is required; however, the ELISA kit may be advantageous in other situations due to its ease of use.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Food Control. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version will be subsequently published in Food Control in 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodcont.2016.07.017

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