Real truffles are among the most sought-after edible mushrooms and can achieve top prices of up to 10,000 €/kg with good quality. It is an ideal candidate for adulteration, which is why it was selected as an example matrix for the development of analytical methods suitable for routine use in the "Foodprofiling" project. 


This also attracts less honorable contemporaries to the market, who expect a quick profit through fraudulent manipulation. Only a few experienced experts are able to identify the quality and origin of truffles purely by external characteristics.


Within the framework of the "Food profiling" project under the direction of Prof. Markus Fischer at Hamburg School of Food Science, truffles were selected as frequently counterfeit foods as an example matrix in order to develop modern and routine-suitable analysis methods, so that such frauds can be uncovered faster and above all without doubt in the future.


Our laboratory AGROLAB LABOR GmbH in Eching a. A. was dedicated to the development of an effective and cost-efficient method based on the "Matrix assisted Laser Desorption / Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry" (MALDI-TOF MS) within the BLE project, which is nearing completion.


With this method, typical protein and peptide patterns can be recognized and reliably identified using a database that was established in cooperation with scientists* at the University of Tübingen. The chemical fingerprints of 8 common truffle species have been recorded over the past 3 years and an evaluation algorithm has been developed to identify unknown samples quickly and reliably - even in processed samples.

The platform technology we have chosen (MALDI-TOF MS) can in principle also be applied to many other species determinations such as bacteria and fungus identification, fish species determination or even potato variety determination.


The great advantage is the relatively simple sample preparation and very short analysis times.


We are proud and congratulate our employees* Mirjam Klein, Romina Kielhauser and Dr. Torsten Dilger that their results were accepted for publication under the title "Optimized rapid and reliable identification of Tuber spp. by Matrix- Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization - Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS)" by a renowned scientific journal a few days ago and will be published shortly.





Author: Frank Mörsberger