ArDB & 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 thanks to the intrinsic "isotopic fingerprint" contained within. However, for any fraudulent behaviour to be detected  it is essential that the analyst has a database of authentic samples to enable the products claims to be verified. In this case, the authentic sample database forms the cornerstone of a secure food chain and so ArDB is a crucial tool for fighting food fraud. 

It is then clear that the authentic database is of great value to the analytical laboratory and as such they hold considerable intellectual property to the laboratory that has developed the database. This means that it is extremely difficult for a newly established laboratory to purchase suitable database and so they must consider the construction of their own databsae to enable them to be successful.

ArDB has been created to help these laboratories create, organize and manage their database completely removing the requirement for the lab to develop their own databsae architecture significantly reducing the size of investment needed and captializing on the large investment already made by purchasing a stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer. 

Populating the database

The first aim of any database is to populate the database with as many authentic samples as possible. To do this, any data submitted to the database must be analytically sound and technically robust. When using ArDB in conjunction with Elementar scientific instrumentation the process of transfering data from the instrument to the database is completely automated reducing the need for manual data entry and therefore possible errors. 

ArDB offers multiple permission based user access levels making it possible to develop publishing workflows for your data. After performing the sample analysis, data is passed to ArDB in draft state. The draft data is passed for approval by the database administrator who then chooses to reject or publish the data.

Generate 3 dimensional isotope plots

The intrinsic stable isotope fingerprint of a food stuff is dependent an many factors. Each of the light "organic" elements such as carbon, nitrogen and sulfur experience isotope fractionaion via numerous chemical, physical and biological processes. For example, nitrogen isotope ratios may be dependent on soil conditions, fertilizer use and nitrogen fixation mechanisms. Carbon isotope ratios are dependent on the photosynthetic pathways that the plant may use, or the type of feed that the cattle is fed. Sulfur isotope ratios are strongly dominated by geological factors such as the underlying bedrock type and distance to the coast. With these factors all at play, analysing multiple isotopes from a single sample using  Elementar EA systems are able to use 3 dimensional isotope discrimination to evaluate the original source of a food stuff. 

Reduce multi-dimensional data with PCA, LDA

To successful detect and prosecute food fraud, analytical labs must use every tool in their arsenal to ensure that consumers remain safe. Therefore, stable isotope analysis commonly is only a single analysis within a suite of analyses which may include ICP-MS, TIMS, GC, GC-MS, LC, LC-MS etc... When a single sample is processed via many techniques, the resulting dataset can be large and comprise of many dimesions. Evaluating such complex, multi-dimensional data sets is commonly done using multi-variate statistical tools such as Principle Component Analysis (PCA) and Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA). ArDB has the ability to perform PCA and LDA directly within the software making it incredibly simple to reduce large dimensional data sets to 2D or 3D visualizations.

Submit unknown sample results for testing

Your authentic sample database holds the answer to your concerns about an unknown sample. After investing in and developing your database, it is time to put it to work to be able to qualify whether an unknown sample is authentic or not. ArDB has the functionality to submit your suspected sample results to the data for testing against the database without "contaminating" the database with spurious samples. This allows the suspicious samples to be interrogated against a LDA model resulting in the samples being scored and categorized as belonging to a particular group.

Stable Isotope Instrumentation

Elementar is a world leading manufacturer of stable isotope ratio mass spectrometers with a complete portfolio of peripheral inlet systems and we support an array of systems that offer the anlaysis of food stuffs. No matter which type of food stuff you are wishing to analyze, Elementar has the required solution. 

For the analysis of bulk food stuffs such as fruits, vegetables and meat samples the ideal instrument is an elemental analyzed which is able to analyse multiple isotopes from a single sample for rapid throughput. Should you be interested in fruit juices, wines and spirits the iso FLOW gas & headspace analyzer is able to analyse 18O and 2H isotopes in the consitiuent waters. It is even possible to bring chromatographic techniques such as GC and LC on materials such as honey, wines, edible oils and flavourings and fragrances. 

To find out more about Food Authenticity click here

iso FLOW Gas & Headspace Analyzer

iso FLOW is an automated sampling system which is able analyse the 18O and 2H isotope ratio of liquid samples such as fruit juices, wines, spirits and ground waters.

vario PYRO cube Elemental Analyzer

The vario PYRO cube is a high temperature system which can be used for the bulk stable isotope analysis of fruits, vegetables and meat as well as soils. 

GC5 Gas Chromatogram

The GC5 performs compound specific isotope analysis  using a capillary GC column to separate complex organic mixtures such as edible oils, flavors and fragrances.


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