Rapid Discrimination and Authentication of Korean Farmstead Mozzarella Cheese through MALDI-TOF and Multivariate Statistical Analysis
Geographical origin and authenticity are the two crucial factors that propel overall cheese perception in terms of quality and price; therefore, they are of great importance to consumers and commercial cheese producers. Herein, we demonstrate a rapid, accurate method for discrimination of domestic and import mozzarella cheeses in the Republic of Korea by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). The protein profiles' data aided by multivariate
... ed by multivariate statistical analysis successfully differentiated farmstead and import mozzarella cheeses according to their geographical location of origin. A similar investigation within domestic samples (farmsteads/companies) also showed clear discrimination regarding the producer. Using the biomarker discovery tool, we identified seven distinct proteins, of which two (m/z 7407.8 and 11,416.6) were specific in farmstead cheeses, acting as potential markers to ensure authentication and traceability. The outcome of this study can be a good resource in building a database for Korean domestic cheeses. This study also emphasizes the combined utility of MALDI-TOF MS and multivariate analysis in preventing fraudulent practices, thereby ensuring market protection for Korean farmstead cheeses.