Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): a possible alternative to immunochemical methods assuring safety and quality of food. Detection of wheat contamination in non-wheat food products

Z Lebensm Unters Forsch. 1993 Mar;196(3):248-51. doi: 10.1007/BF01202741.


A rapid, sensitive and specific analysis of food samples determining wheat contamination was established using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology. First, primers specific for highly conserved eukaryote DNA sequences were used to prove isolated nucleic acid substrate accessibility to PCR amplification. Subsequently, a highly repetitive and specific genomic wheat DNA segment was amplified by PCR for wheat detection. This assay was tested with 35 different food samples ranging from bakery additives to heated and processed food samples. In addition, the PCR method was compared to an immunochemical assay that detected the wheat protein component gliadin. Combination of both assays allowed a detailed characterization of wheat contamination. Hence, wheat flour contamination could be distinguished from gliadin used as a carrier for spices as well as from wheat starch addition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / analysis*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • Edible Grain / genetics
  • Food / standards*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Gliadin / analysis
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Quality Control
  • Triticum / genetics*


  • DNA
  • Gliadin