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 (EA-IRMS) systems 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:

Geographical discrimination of extra-virgin olive oils from the Italian coasts by combining stable isotope data and carotenoid content within a multivariate analysis
Food Chemistry (2017)
S. Portarena, C. Baldacchini, E. Brugnoli

We have determined the isotopic composition and the carotenoid contents of 38 extra-virgin olive oils (EVOOs) from seven regions along the Italian coasts, by means of isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) and resonant Raman spectroscopy (RRS), respectively. The application of linear discriminant analysis to our overall results demonstrated the combination of isotope and carotenoid data is a promising method to discriminate EVOOs from production sites that are impacted by similar geographical and climatic parameters. In particular, this dual approach allowed correct classification of 82% EVOO samples, while separate IRMS and RRS investigations were able to discriminate only samples from Sicily and Latium, respectively.
Tags: C , O , fo , EA

Establishment of the soil water potential threshold to trigger irrigation of Kyoho grapevines based on berry expansion, photosynthetic rate and photosynthetic product allocation
Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research (2016)
Y. Lou, Y. Miao, Z. Wang, L. Wang, J. Li, C. Zhang, W. Xu, M. Inoue, S. Wang

rrigation is an important management practice in viticulture. Irrigation scheduling established by previous researchers was based mainly on the irrigation level for optimal berry composition and size at harvest. Because eventual berry size and composition depend on the accumulation of daily growth, a more precise study must be implemented to establish the soil water potential (ψsoil) threshold to trigger irrigation at different development stages of the berry.

The use of δ2H and δ18O isotopic analyses combined with chemometrics as a traceability tool for the geographical origin of bell peppers
Food Chemistry (2016)
E. de Rijke, J.C. Schoorl, C. Cerli, H.B. Vonhof, S.J.A. Verdegaal, G. Vivó-Truyols, M. Lopatka, R. Dekter, D. Bakker, M.J. Sjerps, M. Ebskamp, C.G. de Koster

Two approaches were investigated to discriminate between bell peppers of different geographic origins. Firstly, δ18O fruit water and corresponding source water were analyzed and correlated to the regional GNIP (Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation) values. The water and GNIP data showed good correlation with the pepper data, with constant isotope fractionation of about −4. Secondly, compound-specific stable hydrogen isotope data was used for classification. Using n-alkane fingerprinting data, both linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and a likelihood-based classification, using the kernel-density smoothed data, were developed to discriminate between peppers from different origins. Both methods were evaluated using the δ2H values and n-alkanes relative composition as variables. Misclassification rates were calculated using a Monte-Carlo 5-fold cross-validation procedure. Comparable overall classification performance was achieved, however, the two methods showed sensitivity to different samples. The combined values of δ2H IRMS, and complimentary information regarding the relative abundance of four main alkanes in bell pepper fruit water, has proven effective for geographic origin discrimination. Evaluation of the rarity of observing particular ranges for these characteristics could be used to make quantitative assertions regarding geographic origin of bell peppers and, therefore, have a role in verifying compliance with labeling of geographical origin.

Isotopic and elemental characterisation of Slovenian apple juice according to geographical origin: Preliminary results
Food Chemistry (2016)
Karmen Bizjak Bat, Klemen Eler, Darja Mazej, Branka Mozetič Vodopivec, Ines Mulič, Peter Kump, Nives Ogrinc

This study examined the applicability of stable isotope and multi-element data for determining the geographical origin of fresh apple juices. Samples included three apple cultivars (Idared, Golden Delicious and Topaz) harvested in 2011 and 2012 from five different geographical regions of Slovenia. Regional discrimination of the juice samples was most successful when using linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and taking into account the following parameters: δ2H and δ18O content of juice water; δ15N and δ13C content of the pulp, (D/H)I and (D/H)II in ethanol and the concentration of S, Cl, Fe, Cu, Zn and Sr. Overall prediction ability was 83.9%. The factors that best distinguished the different types of cultivar were the δ2H and δ18O content of fruit juice water; the δ13C and (D/H)I content of ethanol; and the concentration of S, Mg, K, Cu, and Ti. Prediction ability, taking into account all ten parameters, was 75.8%.

Isoscapes of carbon and oxygen stable isotope compositions in tracing authenticity and geographical origin of Italian extra-virgin olive oils
Food Chemistry (2016)
Francesca Chiocchini, Silvia Portarena, Marco Ciolfi, Enrico Brugnoli, Marco Lauteri

The authentication and verification of the geographical origin of food commodities are important topics in the food sector. This study shows the spatial variability in δ13C and δ18O of 387 samples of Italian extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) collected from 2009 to 2011. EVOOs’ δ13C and δ18O values were related to GIS (Geographic Information System) layers of source water δ18O and climate data (mean monthly temperature and precipitation, altitude, xerothermic index) to evaluate the impact of the most significant large-scale drivers for the isotopic composition of Italian EVOOs. A geospatial model of δ18O and δ13C was developed for the authentication and verification of the geographical origin of EVOOs. The geospatial model identified EVOOs from four distinct areas: north, south-central Tyrrhenian, central Adriatic and islands, highlighting the zonation of the expected isotopic signatures. This geospatial approach can be used to define a protocol for analyzing the isotopic composition of EVOOs in order to certify their origin and prevent food fraud. Limits and perspectives of the model are discussed.

Investigation of the geographical provenance of the beer available in South Korea using multielements and isotopes
Food Control (2016)
Yeon-Sik Bong, Jong-Sik Ryu, Seung-Hyun Choi, Mi-Ran La, Kwang-Sik Lee

Although beer has the largest share of the global alcoholic beverage market, only limited studies of beer have been performed in terms of elemental and isotopic compositions. Here, we measured elemental and isotopic compositionsdincluding carbon and oxygen isotopes as well as 87Sr/86Sr ratiosdof beers available in South Korea to examine geographical differences. Although most of the elements analyzed in this study were not markedly different between the beer samples, there was a clear distinction in the isotopic compositions of the samples. d13CDIC values indicated that most of the beer samples were produced from C3 plants, such as barley or wheat. d18O values allowed the samples to be discriminated by latitude, reflecting a negative correlation between latitude and isotopic composition. Similarly, 87Sr/86Sr ratios were different between the samples due to the bedrock. Statistical analysis of the combination of elemental and isotopic compositions showed a clear difference between the beer samples according to the geographical provenance on a continental scale. This study demonstrated a powerful method for distinguishing diverse beers according to their geographical provenance, and will make an important contribution to research into discrimination of the geographical origin of diverse processed foods available commercially

Use of stable carbon isotope ratios to determine the source of cypermethrin in so-called natural plant extract formulations used for organic farming.
Isotopes in environmental and health studies (2016)
Hiroto Kawashima, Takuro Kariya

Some natural plant extract formulations (NPEFs, also referred to as essential oils) used in organic farming have been shown to contain synthetic pesticides. We obtained samples of four NPEFs (Muso, Hekiro, Kensogen-Ten, and Nurse Green) that were contaminated with the synthetic pyrethroid cypermethrin, and we used gas chromatography coupled with combustion, cryofocusing, and isotope ratio mass spectrometry to determine the stable carbon isotope ratios (δ(13)C) for the cypermethrin in the four NPEF samples, as well as in ten cypermethrin reagents and two commercial pesticide formulations (Agrothrin emulsion and Agrothrin water-dispersible powder). Our goal was to identify the source of the cypermethrin in the NPEFs. Cryofocusing markedly sharpened the cypermethrin peak and thus improved the accuracy and precision of the determined δ(13)C values. The δ(13)C values (± SD) of the 16 cypermethrin samples ranged from -28.3 ± 0.2 to -24.5 ± 0.2 ‰. Surprisingly, the four NPEFs showed similar δ(13)C values (-26.8 to -27.3 ‰), suggesting that the cypermethrin in all the samples came from the same source (either the same chemical reaction or the same primary material). This possibility was supported by previously published results. In addition, the δ(13)C values of the two commercial pesticides were similar to the values for the NPEFs, suggesting that the commercial pesticides had been diluted and sold as NPEFs.

Combination of the 87Sr/86Sr ratio and light stable isotopic values (δ13C, δ15N and δD) for identifying the geographical origin of winter wheat in China
Food Chemistry (2016)
Hongyan Liu, Yimin Wei, Hai Lu, Shuai Wei, Tao Jiang, Yingquan Zhang, Boli Guo

This study aims to investigate whether isotopic signatures can be used to develop reliable fingerprints for discriminating the geographical origin of Chinese winter wheat, and to evaluate the discrimination effects of δ13C, δ15N and δD, alone or with 87Sr/86Sr. In this study, the values of δ13C, δ15N and δD, and the 87Sr/86Sr ratios of wheat and provenance soils from three regions were determined. Significant differences were found in all parameters of wheat and 87Sr/86Sr in soil extract (reflecting the bioavailable fraction of soil) among different regions. A significantly positive correlation was observed between the 87Sr/86Sr ratios of wheat and soil extracts. An overall correct classification rate of 77.8% was obtained for discriminating wheat from three regions based on light stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N, and δD). The correct classification rate of 98.1% could be obtained with the combination of the 87Sr/86Sr ratio and the light stable isotopic values.
Tags: C , H , N , fo , EA

Verifying the geographical origin of poultry: The application of Stable Isotope and Trace Element (SITE) Analysis
Food Control (2016)
Gareth Rees, Simon D. Kelly, Paul Cairns, Henriette Ueckermann, Stephan Hoelzl, Andreas Rossmann, Michael J. Scotter

Stable isotope and elemental analysis, together with statistical processing of the resultant data has been used to determine the geographical origin of poultry and hence provide a means to verify poultry labels originating from major producing countries/regions. Multivariate statistical analysis has demonstrated that 18 variables, including carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen stable isotope ratios and elemental concentrations of magnesium, thallium, rubidium and molybdenum, are important parameters in poultry origin determination. Using cross-validated discriminant analysis 88.3% of poultry geographical origins were correctly classified (n = 339). Individual correct- classification rates were as follows; China, 100% (n = 36); Brazil, 94.1% (n = 101); Europe 92% (n=87); Chile 82.6% (n =46); Thailand, 70.3% (n = 46) and Argentina 50% (n = 10). The main identification errors were associated with miss-classification of Argentinean samples with those originating from Chile and Thailand. Carbon stable isotope ratios of chicken meat indicate the quantity of maize in the diet and this leads to useful discrimination between a large proportion of European poultry and poultry reared in locations such as South America, Thailand and China where maize feeding predominates. The use of poultry carbon isotope values as a simple ‘screening’ parameter to differentiate European poultry meat from other major importers is not as reliable as for the differentiation of European and South American beef. However carbon isotope ratios will be useful in most instances to corroborate suspicion of mislabelling of non corn-fed European poultry. The stable isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen in chicken meat change in a similar way to surface waters around the globe. Our findings support the hypothesis that the global isotopic variation of stable isotopes in drinking water and feed are transferred into animal tissue and can be used to help establish an animal’s geographic origin. This is a significant finding and mirrors our observations for beef skeletal muscle δ2H ‰ and δ18O ‰ values. These systematic variations can be exploited to give a ‘low-resolution’ indication of an animal’s geographic origin (e.g. Northern Europe versus the tropics).

Discrimination between Slovenian cow, goat and sheep milk and cheese according to geographical origin using a combination of elemental content and stable isotope data
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis (2016)
Marijan Nečemer, Doris Potočnik, Nives Ogrinc

The presented work uses stable isotope ratios of major bioelements (13C/12C, 15N/14N, 18O/16O, 34S/32S) and elemental composition to determine the regional provenance of 124 Slovenian milk and 30 cheese samples collected during May, June and July in 2012 and 2013. The ability to discriminate between cow milk based on geographical origin was only possible in summer 2012, where discriminant analysis identified Cl, Zn, P, Ca and K as the most significant parameters. Both sheep milk and cheese could be distinguished according to their geographical origin based on P, S, K, Cl, Ca, Zn content and δ13C and δ15N values in casein and to refuse possible imitations with a correct classification in 97% of cases. Furthermore, stable isotopes of light elements in combination with elemental composition can distinguish sheep and goat milk and cheese from that produced from cow milk with a prediction ability of 95.2%. Such methodology can effectively contribute towards supporting the existence of the Protected Designated Origin of Bovški and Kraški sheep cheese and Tolminc cow cheese and could be incorporated into a traceability system.
Tags: C , N , O , S , fo , EA , GH