InstantLabs launches quick DNA test for farmed, wild salmon

After launching a rapid DNA test for Atlantic blue crab last year, Baltimore, Md.-based InstantLabs is adding DNA tests for Atlantic and coho salmon.

The DNA test, conducted using Hunter® hand-held equipment, produces results in less than two hours so retailers, restaurants, distributors, government agencies and others can verify the species. Typical seafood DNA testing requires samples to be sent out to a lab, which then produces results within a week or more.

“You are looking for areas where the market sees substitution and that is clearly in the salmon area. People want to know if it is wild or farmed,” Steven Guterman, CEO of InstantLabs, told SeafoodSource. “The whole industry needs a way to quickly determine if the label matches what it is.”

The InstantID™ test kits for Atlantic (Salmo salar) and Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) are the first of four salmon tests planned for release during 2015. InstantLabs will launch InstantID™ for chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) salmon later this year.

InstantLabs also expects to release InstantID™ kits for snapper, catfish, grouper and tilapia. “We are hoping that the catfish [assay] will be available this year. For the other ones, we have to do a little more analysis to figure out the data we need and the market demand. Those will all be important to the commercial market,” Guterman said.

InstantLabs’ Hunter® Real-Time PCR instrument is designed for use at points-of-need to detect and analyze a wide variety of food samples by targeting DNA. The assays were created in partnership with the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.

InstantLabs released its first DNA testing kit for Maryland blue crab late last year. Since it was introduced at the end of the blue crab season, the company will re-launch at the start of this year’s season. “We are in discussions with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. They are obviously concerned about supporting Maryland watermen,” Guterman said.


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