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New Zealand Plant Protection 66 (2013): 34-39

Proof of concept for a biochemical test that differentiates between heat-treated and non-heattreated food products

I.I. Iline, M.A. Novoselov and C.B. Phillips


Quarantine authorities often deal with imported food products containing ingredients of animal origin that can carry biosecurity hazards such as animal diseases. The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) developed an Import Health Standard to manage this risk. The standard states that products must be heated to a specified temperature for a specified time (e.g. 110C for 40 min) within hermetically sealed containers. However, it can be difficult to verify that products have been properly heat-treated, and a quick, easily-used test would assist with verification. Possible targets of such a test are enzymes that are inactivated by high temperatures. This paper describes a modified electrophoretic gel stain recipe for glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI) that enables testing of samples in tubes. In these experiments, non-heat-treated food products rapidly produced a coloured dye after being mixed with stain, but heat-treated products did not. Some imported foods intercepted by MPI were also evaluated. There is potential to develop similar tests for use on plant products and/or organisms associated with plant products to verify heat treatment has taken place.

Keywords: heat treatment, quarantine, biochemical colorimetric assay, glucose-6-phosphate isomerase, heat treatment efficacy.

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