The purpose of this preliminary study was to discriminate the chemical fingerprints of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Grana Padano cheeses from non-PDO “Grana-type” cheeses by means of an untargeted metabolomic approach based on ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (UHPLC/QTOF-MS). Hierarchical cluster analysis and Orthogonal Projections to Latent Structures Discriminant Analysis (OPLS-DA) allowed discriminating PDO vs. non-PDO cheeses. Lipids (fatty acids and their derivatives, phospholipids and monoacylglycerols), amino acids and oligopeptides, together with plant-derived compounds were the markers having the highest discrimination potential. It can be postulated that Grana Padano value chain, as strictly defined in the PDO production specification rules, can drive the biochemical processes involved in cheese making and ripening in a distinct manner, thus leaving a defined chemical signature on the final product. These preliminary findings provide the basis for further authenticity studies, aiming to protect the designation of origin of PDO Grana Padano cheese by applying a comprehensive foodomics-based approach.
- Food Science
- Food authentication
- Food metabolomics
- Multivariate statistics
- Protected designation of origin