Don’t blame it on the pine nut!

Did you know that not all pine nuts are edible? Here, Antonina Constantine explains how DNA-based techniques can prevent you from serving up a dodgy one.

Have you ever had a ‘bad’ pine nut that ruined your meal? Did you have a strange taste lingering on for days or for weeks? If yes, then don’t blame the pine nut! Some pine nut species are simply not meant for human consumption. So we are here to debunk the pine nut world for you.

As a quick summary, P. koraiensis, P. sibirica, P. yunnanensis, P. griffithii and P. pumila are all suitable for consumption. P. armandii, P. massoniana and P. tabulaeformis are not. Pinus armandii is the pine nut believed to cause dysgeusia (taste distortion) among consumers.

DNA-based methods are becoming more and more standard in the industry

It is therefore vital to know which species you are buying or selling – but how can you be sure? A reliable testing method now exists which is based on DNA analysis.

How does the test work?

DNA-based methods are becoming more and more standard in the industry. They are, for example, routinely used to identify the GMOs of pathogens in production or within food products, as well as for allergens and the identification of a variety of fungal, microbial, animal and plant species used in food production. As such, these methods can also be very helpful in combatting food fraud or other deceptive practices.