The DNA fingerprint in food forensics part II: the Jasmine rice case


1. Eurofins Global Control GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
2. Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
3. Eurofins Genomics Europe Applied Genomics GmbH, Ebersberg, Germany


Jasmine rice is the customary name for premium fragrant cultivars originating from the lowlands of the Central East of Thailand and the North-western part of Cambodia. In contrast to the term “Basmati rice”, which is well defined in the pioneering UK Code of Practice (CoP) by a joint effort of all stakeholders in the UK, India and Pakistan, there is no common understanding about Jasmine rice authenticity. The French Rice Code includes the 3 varieties KDML105, RD15 and Pathum Thani 1 as Thai Jasmine rice and cultivars from Cambodia with similar characteristics as Jasmine rice. In contrast the Thai standard defines 8 varieties and the Cambodian standard five cultivars as Jasmine rice. The success of the UK CoP is due to its clarity and restriction to certain cultivars, geographical regions and specific characteristics affecting the cooking and appearance of the rice. DNA fingerprinting is defined as the standard method for authenticity testing. This report reveals that the genetic fingerprinting method based on 15 microsatellite or SSR (Simple Sequence Repeat) markers, which was recently developed for the differentiation of the 41 Basmati varieties in the revised UK CoP, can be also applied to Jasmine rice. Based on authentic reference materials obtained from the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) and from the trade the test not only allows the application of the French Rice Code, but also of the Cambodian Milled Rice Standard. This might lead to more transparency for the trade and consumers, increase the quality of this premium rice and contribute to its success on the world markets.


DNA fingerprinting was invented by Sir Alec Jeffreys and first applied as a forensic tool in an immigration dispute (1). Since then it became the gold standard in paternity testing and human forensics to identify individuals during criminal investigations. Also in food forensics it is a standard tool for the differentiation of plant varieties and animal breeds (2-4). Authenticity testing of Basmati rice is the first example of its routine application for food control (4-6). Basmati is a premium fragrant rice with defined geographic origins and typical cooking characteristics. Due its higher price adulterations with cheaper common long grain rice have been frequently observed. As a consequence the UK Rice Association, British Rice Millers Association and British Retail Consortium developed the UK Code of Practice (CoP, 7), which defines Basmati authenticity and determines DNA fingerprinting as the standard method for the application of the Code.


Jasmine rice is an aromatic rice speciality from Southeast Asia with superb cooking characteristics. Its fragrance is similar to Basmati rice or pandan grass with 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline as ...