Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometers (ISMS) are primarily used within areas of food authenticity including geographical origins. This is acheived using detailed carbon counts from ISMS that are matched to known datasets. Using this innovative method food adulteration can be swiftly identified. High profile cases are usually in the form of false food claims, such as corn fed chicken, or Aberdeen Angus Beef.
Fera utilise a vast range of historic datasets for these purposes. These datasets are constantly updated with ever more detailed data, constantly reducing any uncertainty that may be faced as an ever larger dataset is able to be compared and contrasted against.
The ISMS is not restricted to food. In contrast it is invaluable to identifying chaptalized wine, where processed sugar is added to wine to increase the alcohol content, as opposed to the sugar from the grapes themselves. This reduces the quality of the wine, but greatly reduces the cost of creation.
ISMS makes short work of identifying any adulteration in liquids, utilising similar methods to its solid food counterparts our food authenticiity capabilities are greatly improved and a positive, or negative result can be produced in an increasingly short timeframe.
The stable isotope team specialises in natural abundance measurements of the bio-elements (HCNOS) to establish the authenticity and origin of foods and other materials, where provenance and traceability are of importance.
With an abundance of real world applications stable isotope analysis plays a major role in combatting food adulteration & false food claims. Using these methods we can identify organically grown foodstuffs from their conventionally cultivated counterparts, distinguish between synthetic annd natural flavours, and prove fruit juices to be from concentrate or freshly squeezed.
The team also collaborates with other Fera programmes to apply stable isotope analysis to study migration, food webs, and animal and timber trade issues.