Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science

First Advisor

Rosalee Hellberg, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lilian Were, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Fred Caporaso, Ph.D.


American bison (Bison bison) meat is vulnerable to species substitution due to its high value and similar appearance to less expensive meats, such as beef from domestic cattle (Bos taurus). DNA barcoding of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1) gene is a commonly used method to test for meat species mislabeling. However, due to historical hybridization between the American bison and domestic cattle, additional testing is required to confirm species. The objective of this study was to perform a market survey of products sold as bison meat and verify the species of each product using a combination of DNA barcoding and polymerase chain reaction-satellite fragment length polymorphism (PCR-SFLP). A total of 45 bison products were purchased from online retailers, national grocery chains, butchers, and restaurants. All samples underwent DNA barcoding and those that tested positive for cattle were further tested with PCRSFLP. Of the 45 samples tested using DNA barcoding, 41 were identified as bison, 1 was identified as red deer (Cervus elaphus) and 3 were positive for cattle. The results of PCR-SFLP confirmed the presence of cattle for 2 of the 3 samples identified as cattle with DNA barcoding. Overall, 3 of the 45 samples (6.7%) were determined to be mislabeled. This study revealed that additional testing of species with historical hybridization provides improved species identification results as compared to testing with DNA barcoding alone. However, further research is needed in identifying the effectiveness of PCR-SFLP for other hybrid species.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.