8th  April 2003

 

USING DNA TO TEST FOR BOGUS FOOD

SEE BELOW FOR PHOTOGRAPH

 

Lecturers from Malaysia have been learning how to test for food content using DNA techniques at the University of Lincoln.

 

Zainon Mohammed Noor and Maimunah Mustakim came to the UK from the Universiti Teknologi MARA in Shah Alam, Malaysia.

 

Zainon, a lecturer in microbiology, and Maimunah, a lecturer in medical technical programmes, have spent two weeks working with scientists from the university looking at DNA-based methods for forensically examining food.

 

Substituting one food for another cheaper undetectable option is one way in which food companies may illegally save money. 

 

As processed food is unrecognisable by shape, the only way to establish the identity of the food is to conduct DNA testing. 

 

“A simple example would be salmon,” said Dr Ron Dixon, principal lecturer in Forensic Science at the university. “It may not be possible to distinguish the processed fish from trout, so we examine the food by testing the DNA.”

 

“The techniques we have studied here have been very useful and will certainly be employed when we return home,” said Zainon.

 

“It has been a very enjoyable visit and we hope to come back for another visit sometime in the future.”

 

The visit was arranged in conjunction with the British Council and is part of an ongoing programme of exchange and technology transfer.

 

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Caption: Zainon Mohammed Noor (left) and Maimunah Mustakim pictured in the university’s science laboratories with Dr Ron Dixon

 

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For more information contact: Gill Noakes, Press Assistant, University of Lincoln

Tel: 01522 886244 or Email: gnoakes@lincoln.ac.uk

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