Allergy 2013 May (2)-11

Barcode High Resolution Melting analysis for forensic uses in nuts: A case study on allergenic hazelnuts (Corylus avellana)

Food Res Int.2013 Jan;50(1):351-360

Panagiotis Madesis, Ioannis Ganopoulos, Irene Bosmali, Athanasios Tsaftaris

Institute of Applied Biosciences, CERTH, 6th km Charilaou-Thermis Road, Thermi, Thessaloniki, 57001, Greece


Tree nuts are nutritionally important foods, being rich sources of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins and having cardio protective effects. Despite their healthy attributes, some tree nuts are also known for triggering adverse immune responses to individuals. Thus, an ongoing challenge in molecular biology is to develop rapid, accurate and reliable techniques to identify organisms and their processed foods, particularly those which could be contaminated with allergenic compounds. Lately, in addition to different chemical and immunological methods used, DNA based methods were also applied for this purpose. We describe here a novel, specific and highly sensitive High Resolution Melting analysis based method, using chloroplast barcoding regions (Bar-HRM) in order to a) obtain barcoding information for the major tree nut species (we have also included peanuts and sesame in our study) and b) to quantitatively identify one such allergenic tree nut species, like hazelnut in processed foods. The results show that the proposed method i) is capable of distinguishing among different tree nut species, ii) can be applied to processed tree nut products such as biscuits and iii) can detect a ratio of 0.01% of hazelnut in biscuits. In conclusion, it is demonstrated that BAR-HRM is suitable for the rapid, closed-tube and accurate screening of large numbers of tree nuts and/or of their processed foods and for the identification of allergenic tree nut species contained in processed foods.



  • Novel specific and highly sensitive HRM based method using chloroplast regions.
  • Bar-HRM, with universal and specific chloroplast primers, for barcoding dried nuts.
  • We applied this method applied to processed nut products such as biscuits.
  • We detected a ratio of 0.01% of hazelnut in biscuits.

Keywords: Bar-HRM analysis; Nuts; Hazelnuts; Allergy; Processed foods

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