Food Chemistry (2018), 245, 289--296 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.10.101
The need for an analytical procedure for the identification of allergens present at trace levels in foods was highlighted by conflicting results in a case of contamination of the spice cumin. The application of a bottom-up proteomics experiment was investigated to identify marker peptides for potential contaminant nuts which could then be monitored with high specificity and sensitivity by selective reaction monitoring experiments. The method developed allowed for the distinction between two closely related Prunus species, almond and mahaleb, in two different spices, cumin and paprika. The paprika sample was found to be contaminated with almond and the cumin sample, contaminated at a much lower level, was found to be contaminated with mahaleb. The method could be applied to any protein-dense food matrix allergen so long as suitable control and reference samples can be acquired.