Commercial refrigerated or frozen flatfish fillets are sometimes mislabeled, and identification of these mislabeled products is necessary to prevent fraudulent substitution. Identification of nine commercial flatfish species (order Pleuronectiformes), Hippoglossus hippoglossus (halibut), Lepidorhombus boscii (four-spotted scaldfish), Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis (megrin), Platichthys flesus (flounder), Pleuronectes platessa (European plaice), Reinhardtius hippoglossoides (Greenland halibut), Scophthalmus maximus (turbot), Scophthalmus rhombus (brill), and Solea vulgaris (=Solea solea) (sole), was carried out on the basis of the amplification of a 486-bp segment of the mitochondrial genome (tRNAGlu/cytochrome b) by using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and universal primers. Sequences of PCR-amplified DNA from the flatfish species were used to select eight restriction enzymes (REs). The PCR products were cut with each RE, resulting in species-specific restriction fragment length polymorphism. Seven species groups could be identified by application of the single RE DdeI and six species groups by using HaeIII, HinfI, MaeI, or MboI. Different combinations of only a couple of these REs could unambiguously identify the nine flatfish species. Genetic polymorphisms of the target sequence were examined by comparison with previously published DNA sequences, and the results of this comparison confirmed the usefulness of this technique in distinguishing and genetically characterizing refrigerated or frozen pieces of these nine flatfish species.

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