Rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry coupled with an electrosurgical knife for the rapid identification of Mediterranean Sea species
The topic of food analysis and safety has attracted increasing interest in recent decades owing to recent scandals concerning fraudulent activities (mislabeling, sophistication, adulteration, etc.) that can undermine human health. Among them, seafood fraud has probably the strongest relationship with food safety, an activity that goes beyond economic interests. This article explores the capabilities of an innovative instrumental setup, called the “iKnife,” as a powerful tool in this specific research area, where until now genomics and proteomics have been the workhorses in analytical approaches. iKnife, which means “intelligent knife,” is the name of a recent technology based on rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (REIMS). REIMS is an emerging technique able to characterize different samples rapidly, affording a comprehensive profile usable as a fingerprint, without the need for preliminary extraction or cleanup procedures. In detail, a REIMS source is coupled to a high-resolution tandem mass spectrometer; such coupling allows one to maximize the amount of information (discriminant features) collected for a single analysis, as well as to focus on target analytes to achieve enhanced sensitivity and selectivity. A database was created from 18 marine species typical of the Mediterranean Sea, all caught in the very small area of the Strait of Messina, and reliable identification was achieved for each species with confidence higher than 99%. One big model and three submodels were built by principal component analysis and linear discriminant analysis for unambiguous key variable identification within each class (e.g., Cephalopoda), order (e.g., Perciformes), or family (e.g., Carangidae).
KeywordsIntelligent knife (iKnife) Rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry Fish species identification Seafood fraud Food safety Mediterranean Sea
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
Statement of human and animal rights
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures were in accordance with guidelines for the protection of animal welfare, in compliance with Directive 2010/63/EU, which updates and replaces the 1986 Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.
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