Food Production
    Food Adulteration
    Food Provenance

Food Authenticity

As the supply chains that deliver food stuffs to our doors grow ever more complex, bringing incredible choice to consumers, so it becomes more difficult to ensure that we can trust those foods. Stable isotope analysis is a technique which can detect fraudulent adulteration or mislabelling of premium and protected foods. Looking at the unique isotope signature can accurately determine the true origin of a food stuff, guaranteeing the safety of the public as well as the future of these specialist and traditional foods that deserve our protection.

With the same stable isotope techniques the flavourings industry improves the protection of its products through multi-elemental isotopic fingerprinting to ensure that their products can be distinguished from their fraudulent counterparts. Stable isotope analysis can also be used to confirm the use of organic farming practices, or the addition of cheaper additives to a premium product, ultimately protecting both the consumer, and the reputation of genuine suppliers.

Fruits, Vegetables, Meats

Multi-elemental isotope analysis is able to bring a great deal of information about geographical origin and possible adulterations of premium food stuffs. Our high performance range of elemental analyzers for stable isotope analysis (EA-IRMS) can rapidly analyse your samples thanks to our unique Advanced Purge and Trap (APT) technology which gives unbeatable gas separation, and with a 10 year limited furnace warranty you can depend on our instruments. 

Wines & Fruit Juices

Wines command a great premium depending on their geographic origin, or appellation as more commonly known. Fruit juice with no added water is preferential to juice from concentrate. To detect this, 18O and 2H isotope analysis allows the sample to be directly related to the origin thanks to the natural meteorological variation of the water in the source environment. Our iso FLOW system provides exceptional, high throughput analysis of these samples.


Honey is one of the top 5 most globally adulterated food stuffs and stable isotope analysis can help detect this adulteration. Our EA-IRMS systems allow customers to run method AOAC 998.12 for rapid detection of C4 sugar adulteration of honey. Our LC-IRMS systems allow even more sophisticated adulterations of C3 sugars to the honey by performing compound specific isotope analysis of the intrinsic fructose, glucose and higher sugars.

Food & Flavor publications using our instruments

Our customers use our instruments to do some amazing research in the food & flavor application field. To show you how they perform their research and how they use our IRMS instruments, we have collected a range of peer-reviewed publications which cite our products. You can find the citations below and then follow the links to the publishing journal should you wish to download the publication.

If you would like to investigate our available citations in more detail, or email the citation list to yourself or your colleagues then take a look at our full citation database.

63 results:

Simultaneous determination of wine sugars , glycerol and organic acids C / C isotopic ratio by ion chromatography- co -IRMS
37th World Congress of Vine andWine and 12th General Assembly of the OIV (2014)
Francois Guyon, Laetitia Gaillard, Sarah Desplanche, Nathalie Sabathi

Ion chromatography (IC) isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) coupling is possible using a liquid interface allowing chemical oxidation (co) of organic compounds. Synthetic solutions containing a mixture of glycerol, sugars (sucrose, glucose and fructose) and organic acids (gluconic, lactic, malic, tartaric, oxalic, fumaric, citric and isocitric) were elaborated to estimate analytical applications of two different IC systems. It appears that the use of carbonated solution in the eluting phase is a perturbation for 13C isotope measurements as it creates a δ13C deviation from the expected values. A sample of authentic sweet wine was analyzed by IC-co- IRMS using KOH gradient. Ratios of isotopic, ratios of organic acids and glycerol was found to be, in average, equal 1.01±0.04 that is in accordance with our previous results
Tags: carbon , food , liqfac

(13)C/(12)C isotope ratios of organic acids, glucose and fructose determined by HPLC-co-IRMS for lemon juices authenticity.
Food chemistry (2014)
Francois Guyon, Pauline Auberger, Laetita Gaillard, Caroline Loublanches, Maryse Viateau, Nathalie Sabathié, Marie-Hélène Salagoïty, Bernard Médina

High performance liquid chromatography linked to isotope ratio mass spectrometry via an interface allowing the chemical oxidation of organic matter (HPLC-co-IRMS) was used to simultaneously determine carbon 13 isotope ratio (δ(13)C) of organic acids, glucose and fructose in lime and lemon juices. Because of the significant difference between organic acids and sugars concentrations, the experimental protocol was optimised by applying a "current jump" to the IRMS device. The filament current is increased of 300μA during elution in order to enhance IRMS sensitivity. Then, analysis were performed on 35 lemon and lime fruits from various geographical origins and squeezed in the laboratory. An overall average δ(13)C values of -25.40±1.62‰, -23.83±1.82‰ and -25.67±1.72‰ is found for organic acids mixture mainly made up of citric acid, glucose and fructose, respectively. These authentic samples allowed the definition of a confidence domain to which have been confronted 30 commercial juices (24 "pure juices" and 6 coming from concentrate). Among these 30 samples, 10 present δ(13)C values outside the defined range revealing an added "C4" type organic acids or sugars, addition not specified on the label that is not in agreement with EU regulation.
Tags: carbon , food , liqfac

Determination of organic milk authenticity using carbon and nitrogen natural isotopes
Food Chemistry (2014)
Ill Min Chung, Inmyoung Park, Jae Yeon Yoon, Ye Seul Yang, Seung Hyun Kim

Natural stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen (12C, 13C, 14N, 15N) have abundances unique to each living creature. Therefore, measurement of the stable isotope ratio of carbon and nitrogen (δ13C = 13C/12C, δ15N = 15N/14N) in milk provides a reliable method to determine organic milk (OM) authenticity. In the present study, the mean δ13C value of OM was higher than that of conventional milk (CM), whereas the mean δ15N value of OM was lower than that of CM; nonetheless both δ13C and δ15N values were statistically different for the OM and CM (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the values of δ13C and δ15N were found to differ statistically with the collection date and the milk brand (P < 0.05). The combination of δ13C and δ15N values was more effective than either value alone in distinguishing between OM and CM. The results of the present study, which is based on preliminary data from a limited sample size and sampling period, could be highly valuable and helpful for consumers, the food industry, and/or government regulatory agencies as it can prevent fraudulent labelling of organic food. Further studies include additional analyses of other milk brands and analyses over longer time periods in order to accurately determine OM authenticity using stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Tags: carbon , nitrogen , food , elem

Discrimination of Production Environments of Specialty Coffees by Means of Stable Isotopes and Discriminant Model
Journal of Agricultural Science (2014)
Juliana Barbosa, Flavio Borém, Helena Alves, Marcelo Cirillo, Maria Sartori, Carlos Ducatti

The south of Minas Gerais, Brazil stands out among various regions through its capacity for production of specialty coffees. Its potential, manifested through being one of the most award-winning Brazilian regions in recent years, has been recognized by the Cup of Excellence (COE). With the evident relationship between product quality and the environment in mind, the need arises for scientific studies to provide a foundation for discrimination of product origin, creating new methods for combating possible fraud. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in discrimination of production environments of specialty coffees from the Serra da Mantiqueira of Minas Gerais by means of the discriminant model. Coffee samples were composed of ripe yellow and red fruits collected manually at altitudes below 1,000 m, from 1,000 to 1,200 m and above 1,200 m. The yellow and red fruits were subjected to dry processing and wet processing, with five replications. A total of 119 samples were used for discrimination of specialty coffee production environments by means of stable isotopes and statistical modeling. The model generated had an accuracy rate of 89% in discrimination of environments and was composed of the isotope variables of d15N, d13C, %C, %N, dD, d18O (meteoric water) and sensory analysis scores. In addition, for the first time, discrimination of environments on a local geographic scale, within a single municipality, was proposed and successfully concluded. This shows that isotope analysis is an effective method in verifying geographic origin for specialty coffees.
Tags: carbon , nitrogen , food , elem

Distinguishing feral and managed honeybees ( Apis mellifera ) using stable carbon isotopes
Apidologie (2014)
Lucy M A Nderson, Travis M D Ynes, Jennifer A B Erry, Keith S D Elaplane, Lydia L M C C Ormick, Berry J B Rosi

The ability to distinguish feral and managed honeybees (Apis mellifera) has applications in studies of population genetics, parasite transmission, pollination, interspecific interactions, and bee breeding. We evaluated a diagnostic test based on theoretical differences in stable carbon isotope ratios generated by supplemental feeding. We evaluated (1) if carbon isotope ratios can distinguish feral and managed honeybees and (2) the temporal persistence of the signal after discontinuation of supplemental feeding. We compared carbon isotope ratios from four types of experimental colonies: feral, managed with and without supplemental feed, and managed with 13C-labeled glucose added to supplemental feed. There was a significant difference between the isotopic signatures of colonies receiving supplemental feed and unfed feral colonies. This difference, however, only persisted for a few weeks after supplemental feeding was discontinued, suggesting that this method may work best under a narrow range of conditions. This work highlights the potential for exploiting temporal turnover of carbon in bee tissues as a tool for studying nutrient flow in honeybee colonies

Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis for Verifying the Authenticity of Balsamic and Wine Vinegar
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry (2014)
M Perini, M Paolini, M Simoni, L Bontempo, U Vrhovsek, M Sacco, F Thomas, E Jamin, A Hermann, F Camin, S Ponti, Via E Ferrari

In this paper, we investigate whether the analysis of stable isotope ratios D/H and 13C/12C in ethanol and acetic acid and of 18O/16O in water can be applied to the ingredients of “aceto balsamico di Modena IGP” (ABM) to evaluate their authenticity. We found that impurities in the extraction solution do not affect the 13C/12C of acetic acid and the D/H values of acetic acid are not affected under a composite NMR experiment. The standard deviation of repeatability and standard deviation of reproducibility are comparable in wine vinegar and ABM and generally lower than those quoted in the official methods. This means that the validation parameters quoted in the official methods can also be applied to the ingredients of ABM. In addition, we found no changes in the isotopic values from wine to vinegar and to ABM, and from the original must to the ABM must, providing experimental evidence that reference data from wine databanks can also be used to evaluate the authenticity of vinegar and ABM.
Tags: oxygen , food , gashead

Authentication and traceability of Italian extra-virgin olive oils by means of stable isotopes techniques.
Food chemistry (2014)
S. Portarena, O. Gavrichkova, M. Lauteri, E. Brugnoli

Authentication of food origin is relevant to avoid food fraud. This work aimed to explore the variation of isotopic compositions (δ(13)C, δ(18)O) of extra-virgin olive oils from Italy growing in different environmental conditions. A total of 387 oil samples from nine different regions (from North to South), produced on 2009, 2010 and 2011, were analysed. Statistical analysis showed correlations among oil isotope compositions and latitude, mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation and xerothermic index. No correlation was found comparing isotope compositions with elevation and longitude. An observed shift of the oil δ(18)O per centigrade degree of the mean annual temperature is congruent with literature. The year effect was significant for both δ(18)O and δ(13)C. Samples from Sicilia and Sardegna were higher in (13)C and (18)O than oils from northern regions.
Tags: carbon , oxygen , food , elem

Variations in the Natural 15 N Abundance of Brassica chinensis Grown in Uncultivated Soil A ff ected by Di ff erent Nitrogen Fertilizers
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry (2014)
Yuwei Yuan, Guixian Hu, Ming Zhao, Tianjin Chen, Yongzhi Zhang, Jiahong Zhu, Qiang Wang

To further investigate the method of using δ15N as a marker for organic vegetable discrimination, the effects of different fertilizers on the δ15Nin different growing stages of Brassica chinensis (B. chinensis) grown in uncultivated soil were investigated with a pot experiment. B. chinensis was planted with uncultivated soil and different fertilizer treatments and then harvested three times in three seasons consecutively. For the spring experiments in the years of 2011 and 2012, the δ15N value of B. chinensis, which increased due to organic manure application and decreased due to chemical fertilizer application, was significantly different (p < 0.05) with manure treatment and chemical treatment. The δ15N value of vegetables varied among three growing stages and ranged from +8.6‰ to +11.5‰ for the control, from +8.6‰ to +12.8‰ for the compost chicken manure treatment, from +2.8‰ to +7.7‰ for the chemical fertilizer urea treatment, and from +7.7‰ to +10.9‰ for the compost−chemical fertilizer treatment. However, the δ15N values observed in the autumn experiment of 2011 without any fertilizer application increased ranging from +13.4‰to +15.4‰, + 11.2‰to +17.7‰, +10.7‰to +17.1‰, and +10.6‰to +19.1‰, respectively, for the same treatments mentioned above. This result was not significantly different between manure treatment and chemical treatment. The δ15N values of soil obtained in the spring of 2011 during three growing stages were slightly affected by fertilizers and varied in the range of +1.6‰ to +2.5‰ for CK, +4.7‰ to +6.5‰ for compost treatment, +2.1‰ to +2.4‰ for chemical treatment, and +2.7‰ to +4.6‰ for chemical−compost treatment, respectively. High δ15N values of B. chinensis were observed in these experiments, which would be useful to supplement a δ15N database for discriminating organic vegetables. Although there was a significant difference between manure treatment and chemical treatment, it was still difficult to discriminate whether a labeled organic vegetable was really grown without chemical fertilizer just with a fixed high δ15N value, especially for the vegetables planted simultaneously with chemical and compost fertilizer

Multi-stable isotope analysis as a tool for assessing the geographic provenance of dairy products: A case study using buffalo's milk and cheese samples from the Amazon basin, Brazil
International Dairy Journal (2014)
Almir Vieira Silva, Jean François Hélie, Fabrício De Andrade Caxito, Humberto Monardes, Arif F. Mustafa, Ross Stevenson

Stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen (bulk samples), and oxygen and hydrogen (water samples) of buffalo's milk and cheese samples from the Marajó Island, Amazon, Brazil, was conducted. This pilot study, the first of its kind in Brazil, provides a preliminary isotope database for Marajó's dairy products. From this, a comparison with dairy products from other areas within the country and worldwide can be drawn, to assess the usefulness of this tool in the geographic characterization of dairy products with a high regional appeal, such as those from the Amazon
Tags: carbon , hydrogen , nitrogen , oxygen , food , elem , aquap

Potential of ion chromatography coupled to isotope ratio mass spectrometry via a liquid interface for beverages authentication
Journal of Chromatography A (2013)
Francois Guyon, Laetitia Gaillard, Audrey Brault, Nicolas Gaultier, Marie-hélène Salagoïty, Bernard Médina

New tools for the determination of characteristic parameters for food authentication are requested to prevent food adulteration from which health concerns, unfair competition could follow. A new coupling in the area of compound-specific carbon 13 isotope ratio (δ(13)C) analysis was developed to simultaneously quantify δ(13)C values of sugars and organic acids. The coupling of ion chromatography (IC) together with isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) can be achieved using a liquid interface allowing a chemical oxidation (co) of organic matter. Synthetic solutions containing 1 polyol (glycerol), 3 carbohydrates (sucrose, glucose and fructose) and 12 organic acids (gluconic, lactic, malic, tartaric, oxalic, fumaric, citric and isocitric) were used to optimize chromatographic conditions (concentration gradient and 3 types of column) and the studied isotopic range (-32.28 to -10.65‰) corresponds to the values found in food products. Optimum chromatographic conditions are found using an IonPac AS15, an elution flow rate of 0.3mLmin(-1) and a linear concentration gradient from 2 to 76mM (rate 21mMmin(-1)). Comparison between δ(13)C value individually obtained for each compound with the coupling IRMS and elemental analyzer, EA-IRMS, and the ones measured on the mixture of compounds by IC-co-IRMS does not reveal any isotope fractionation. Thus, under these experimental conditions, IC-co-IRMS results are accurate and reproducible. This new coupling was tested on two food matrices, an orange juice and a sweet wine. Some optimization is necessary as the concentration range between sugars and organic acids is too large: an increase in the filament intensity of the IRMS is necessary to simultaneously detect the two compound families. These first attempts confirm the good results obtained on synthetic solutions and the strong potential of the coupling IC-co-IRMS in food authentication area. Potential of ion chromatography coupled to isotope ratio mass spectrometry via a liquid interface for beverages authentication (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258851381_Potential_of_ion_chromatography_coupled_to_isotope_ratio_mass_spectrometry_via_a_liquid_interface_for_beverages_authentication [accessed Feb 25, 2016].