Scientists managed to quantify DNA present in olive oil with the help of breakthrough forensic techniques.
Much like deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) helps solve crimes, it can be
used to control food quality and prevent fraud. It plays the role of a
true identity card, and that still holds true for plants.
DNA to determine olive oil authenticity and quality has proven to be a
challenge, though. That was true until scientists managed to quantify
DNA present in olive oil with the help of breakthrough forensic
techniques, as a result of a coordinated, collegial effort.
The reason it is difficult to use DNA in order to determine olive oil
quality is that DNA dissolves in water but not in lipids (understand:
fat), and olive oil contains few molecules that can be reasonably and
relevantly exploited. Besides, DNA is very fragmented in virgin olive
Scientists from the University of Córdoba have teamed up with
their counterparts from the Council of Scientific Investigation
(combined with researchers from the Institute of Sustainable
Agriculture) in order to tackle the challenge that poses olive oil DNA
authentication and quantification.
The team of researchers managed
to come up with an absolute way of quantifying DNA in virgin olive oil
by using advanced forensic techniques that are usually reserved for
crime scenes analysis.
Gabriel Dorado Pérez, a molecular biology
and biochemistry professor and the researcher responsible of the
investigation group AGR-248 (Agri-food Biotechnology), as well as the
Andalusian Plan of Investigation, Development and Innovation, gave his
insight on the process: “Surely, considering the fact that virgin olive
oil is the juice of a fruit, it contains water drops in microscopic
quantity in which DNA dissolves,” he explained. More