Effect of Food Processing on Plant DNA Degradation and PCR-based GMO Analysis: A Review

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010 Mar;396(6):2003-22. doi: 10.1007/s00216-009-3343-2. Epub 2009 Dec 15.


The applicability of a DNA-based method for GMO detection and quantification depends on the quality and quantity of the DNA. Important food-processing conditions, for example temperature and pH, may lead to degradation of the DNA, rendering PCR analysis impossible or GMO quantification unreliable. This review discusses the effect of several food processes on DNA degradation and subsequent GMO detection and quantification. The data show that, although many of these processes do indeed lead to the fragmentation of DNA, amplification of the DNA may still be possible. Length and composition of the amplicon may, however, affect the result, as also may the method of extraction used. Also, many techniques are used to describe the behaviour of DNA in food processing, which occasionally makes it difficult to compare research results. Further research should be aimed at defining ingredients in terms of their DNA quality and PCR amplification ability, and elaboration of matrix-specific certified reference materials.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • DNA, Plant / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Plant / metabolism*
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Genetic Techniques
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*


  • DNA, Plant