Polymerase chain reaction assay for verifying the labeling of meat and commercial meat products from game birds targeting specific sequences from the mitochondrial D-loop region
A PCR assay was developed for the identification of meats and commercial meat products from quail (Coturnix coturnix), pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), partridge (Alectoris spp.), guinea fowl (Numida meleagris), pigeon (Columba spp.), Eurasian woodcock (Scolopax rusticola), and song thrush (Turdus philomelos) based on oligonucleotide primers targeting specific sequences from the mitochondrial D-loop region. The primers designed generated specific fragments of 96, 100, 104, 106, 147, 127, and 154 bp in length for quail, pheasant, partridge, guinea fowl, pigeon, Eurasian woodcock, and song thrush tissues, respectively. The specificity of each primer pair was tested against DNA from various game and domestic species. In this work, satisfactory amplification was accomplished in the analysis of experimentally pasteurized (72°C for 30 min) and sterilized (121°C for 20 min) meats, as well as in commercial meat products from the target species. The technique was also applied to raw and sterilized muscular binary mixtures, with a detection limit of 0.1% (wt/wt) for each of the targeted species. The proposed PCR assay represents a rapid and straightforward method for the detection of possible mislabeling in game bird meat products.