DNA Barcodes – DNA authentication mark (traceability and identification of food products)

Posted by uacooperaResponsive · Patents for licensing · Portugal

Summary of the technology

The present invention consists on the development and application of "molecular tags" or “molecular barcoded labels”, of easy synthesis and production in large quantities. These labels are of simple application, invisible to the naked eye and of rapid detection using low cost equipments and reagents typically used for molecular biology. Basically, the labels consist of chimerical molecules of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and the detection and read of these molecules do not depend on sequencing approaches. The information in these labels can be accessed in a similar way as it is done for most common barcoded systems.

Description of the technology

This invention falls within the field of traceability and identification of food products, solid samples of food and other similar products, packaging materials, various solid materials and liquid media. It can also be easily inserted into the industrial production or processing lines in general. When compared to other technologies in the market and among others, the main advantage of this technology over traditional authentication methods (e.g. barcodes) is that it cannot be copy or counterfeit as it is highly specific. In addition, no sequencing methodologies to read the tag are needed. The DNA tag can be applied in a wide range of high value products and in cases where proof of authenticity is needed.


The solution is a DNA-based tag. As an analogy to existing products it can be seen as a substitute for a traditional barcode label. It can be applied (for example, through a diffusor) or it can be used in combination with other authentication technologies (traditional barcodes or RFID). It can also be combined with ink and use to authenticate signatures. The authentication of the DNA label can be done in a molecular biology laboratory or locally with portable equipment. This way, the DNA tag enables a forensic authentication of the product.

Main advantages of its use

  • • Easy verification and authentication – no need for DNA sequencing - this key innovation allows reducing the cost of the authentication process and labelling.
  • • It can only be read with the previous knowledge of its formulation.
  • • No toxicity
  • • The natural structural characteristics of the DNA enables the tag to be highly resistant and allows its application on a wide range of materials and irregular surfaces
  • • Unlike other authentication technologies the DNA tag cannot be copy or counterfeit.


  • The technology finds application in several areas, namely in any situation/product whose origin and proof of authenticity is important

Related keywords

  • Tracability of food
  • Genetic Engineering Technology
  • Genetic Engineering / Molecular Biology
  • Consumer related
  • Medical Health related
  • Recombinant DNA
  • Other recombinant DNA
  • Production services
  • Health food
  • Media related services
  • DNA barcodes
  • barcodes
  • traceability
  • logistics
  • packaging
  • RFID
  • food manufacturing

About uacoopera

Technology Transfer Office from Portugal

The University of Aveiro is a young and innovative university, which fosters entrepreneurship and technology and knowledge transfer, with expertise in a wide range of knowledge areas namely IT, Life Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Health, Environmental Sciences), Nanotechnology and Materials Science, Mechanics, Physics, Mathematics, Building, Design and Management. uacoopera is the Technology Transfer Office of University of Aveiro. This office engages in value adding activities such as start-up and spin-off creation, support to university-industry cooperation (sponsored research and consultancy services), IP protection and prosecution, licensing, marketing, among others. It covers four main interrelated functional areas – Intellectual Property Management, Licensing, Entrepreneurship, and Industry Liaison.

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