The future of NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) analysis in testing food authenticity

Edward Haynes, Elisa Jimenez, Miguel Angel Pardo, Sarah Helyar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)
242 Downloads (Pure)


The authenticity of foodstuffs is an important issue for consumers, regulators, producers and processors, as fraudulent practices can negatively affect consumer confidence and safety, as well as the operating models of legitimate businesses. This review provides an overview of the current landscape of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) applications for food authenticity, and looks to identify the potential future developments for this technology. Specific areas highlighted include the range of NGS platforms and sequence databases available, validation of NGS, and limitations and appropriate uses of these technologies.

Many NGS platforms are available, with different properties (such as sequence read length and output) suited to different analyses. Despite this wealth of options, more platforms are being brought out frequently, and advances such as reduced error rate will enable their expanded use for food authenticity. This rapid expansion in the use of DNA sequencing has led to an equally rapid enlargement in sequence databases, and the construction of contemporaneous, authenticated databases may be a useful innovation for the application of NGS to authenticity. Such applications will require robust quality control criteria and proficiency testing schemes, both of which are being developed. Despite several caveats, for example around effective extraction and amplification of DNA, NGS is a strong candidate to become a valuable aid or even the technology of choice to achieve regulatory compliance and reputation protection in a number of food fraud situations, particularly for highly complex food matrices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-143
Number of pages9
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2019


  • Genomics
  • Metabarcoding
  • Databases
  • Bioinformatics
  • NGS limitations
  • Validation


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