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High-Precision Isotopic Analysis

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Applications > Food Adulteration

Energy | Environmental | Pharmaceutical | Forensics | Ecology

As food safety becomes a growing concern, stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) is being used in the characterization of milk, fish products, rice spirits, honey, citric fruit juices, beef, cheese, lamb, barley malt, red wines, olive oils, and vanilla extracts for food adulteration and origin studies.

For instance, it may possible to clearly distinguish beef from different countries using carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios. Additionally, the method of feeding (conventional versus organic) can sometimes be identified using carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotope analysis.

Likewise, chemicals in cheeses subjected to SIRA characterization (δ13C, δ15N, δ34S, and δ18O) can show a strong correlation to the amount of corn in an animals’ diet. Similarly, carbon and oxygen isotope data have been used to differentiate the sources of olive oils from various locations in the Mediterranean region. In addition, δ13C and δD analyses have made it possible to differentiate varying sources of natural citric acid derived from fruit juices (versus commercial sources derived from sugar cane or corn syrup) to determine if adulteration has taken place in various juices.

Suggested Readings
O. Schmidt, J.M. Quilter, B.Bahar, A.P. Moloney, C.M. Scrimgeour, I.S. Begley, and F.J. Monahan, "Inferring the Origin and Dietary History of Beef from C, N, S Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis" in Food Chemistry, Volume 91, 2005, Pages 545-549.

F. Camin, K. Wietzerbin, A. B. Cortes, G. Haberhauer, M. Lees, and G. Versini, "Application of Multielement Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis to the Characterization of French, Italian, and Spanish Cheeses" in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Volume 52, 2004, Pages 6592-6601.

F. Angerosa, O. Breas, S. Contento, C. Guillou, F. Reniero, and E. Sada, "Application of Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis to the Characterization of the Geographical Origin of Olive Oils" in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Volume 47, 1999, Pages 1013-1017.

E. Jamin, F. Martin, R. Santamaria-Fernandez, and M. Lees, "Detection of Exogenous Citric Acid in Fruit Juices by Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis" in Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Volume 53, 2005, Pages 5130-5133.

Isotopic Fingerprinting of Solids and Liquids (PDF)

Information on organic solids and liquids analysis



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