Oxford Nanopore Technologies (Oxford Nanopore) and WeNou have announced a collaboration that will bring to market the first industry-accepted, simple, rapid test to accurately detect food fraud. Using nanopore sequencing technology, the test will determine the presence of adulterants and the composition of food samples.

Using an “untargeted” approach, the companies aim to produce a test that is more cost effective and faster than current methods, using DNA sequencing-based analysis for the identification of multiple species in a single sample.

With fraud accounting for 5–25 percent of all globally reported food safety incidents, food manufacturers and retailers typically perform spot-tests on raw materials to verify the safety of final food products. However, current analytical methods for spot-testing either require multiple targeted tests and/or large capital investment for testing. Therefore, the partner companies’ goal is to develop and commercialize a validated, fit-for-purpose test using Oxford Nanopore-based sequencing to identify multiple species present in unprocessed, highly processed, and complex food sample types.

With expertise in food authenticity testing, WeNou compared Nanopore sequencing with the traditional sequencing workflow commonly used in the food industry. This preliminary work showed equivalent and highly reproducible results. In addition, turnaround time was faster when used for meat and fish identification across multiple retail food samples including canned, fresh, frozen, and other types. The portability of Nanopore sequencing created efficiencies through more decentralized sample testing.

The collaboration will expand on the preliminary study by optimizing the workflow using the latest sequencing chemistry from Oxford Nanopore. In addition, the ability to identify shellfish, plants, and insects from highly processed and complex food samples will be assessed in the collaboration. After validation, the test will be suitable for service providers to obtain industry accreditation to assess food and feed authenticity.

Oxford Nanopore: www.nanoporetech.com

WeNou: www.wenou.pt