Authentication of food or food supplements with medicinal values is important to avoid adverse toxic effects, provide consumer rights, as well as for certification purpose. Compared to morphological and spectrometric techniques, molecular authentication is found to be accurate, sensitive and reliable. However, DNA degradation and inclusion of inhibitors may lead to failure in PCR amplification. This paper reviews on the existing DNA extraction and PCR protocols, and the use of small size DNA markers with sufficient discriminative power for molecular authentication. Various emerging new molecular techniques such as isothermal amplification for on-site diagnosis, next-generation sequencing for high-throughput species identification, high resolution melting analysis for quick species differentiation, DNA array techniques for rapid detection and quantitative determination in food products are also discussed.
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