Wageningen Food Safety Research can carry out DNA analyses and use advanced protein identification techniques to determine whether marzipan is made from pure almonds or also contains other nuts or beans.
Wageningen Food Safety Research carried out a brief study of various types of marzipan: with the approaching festival of St Nicholas, the Institute was intrigued to find out more about the composition of marzipan available on the market. This can vary quite widely, which can also have consequences for the quality. It was concluded that all the marzipan examined during the study was made from pure almonds and did not contain any other nuts or beans – which was good news.
The researchers bought various types of marzipan from a number of shops at prices that varied by as much as a factor of 10. Wageningen Food Safety Research used the latest analytical techniques to examine seven marzipan samples to determine whether they were made from pure almonds or also contained other nuts or beans. The researchers used DNA analyses and advanced protein identification techniques that give a precise indication of the ingredients in a product. All the types of marzipan that were examined contained almonds. Although it is conceivable that other types of nut or ground haricot beans could be blended with the almonds used to make marzipan, this was not the case with any of the products examined during this study.
In addition, the researchers carried out microscopic analyses and comprehensive fatty acid analyses to compare the various types of marzipan. These analyses also did not reveal any anomalies. Wageningen Food Safety Research also examined the odour of 17 samples of marzipan. This did reveal differences, in particular between the marzipan from local confectioners and chain stores.