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Issue 2, 2004
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Application of strontium isotope abundance ratios measured by MC-ICP-MS for food authentication

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Naturally occurring isotopes of such elements as strontium (Sr) have proved to be good tools for detecting trends in the soil-vegetation system and the tracing of a variety of objects. Multiple-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) has been used for the precise determination of variations in the isotopic composition of Sr. The method described has been applied to the establishment of the potential and limits to determine the geographical origins of different Emmental-type cheese samples. The sample preparation consists of (i) a freeze-drying procedure to remove water, (ii) an extraction step to eliminate the fat components and to obtain the cheese casein fraction, (iii) a thermal decomposition of the latter, and (iv) a chromatographic matrix separation of the redissolved residue. The determination of the isotope abundance ratios 88Sr/86Sr, 87Sr/86Sr and 84Sr/86Sr resulted in precisions of 0.002–0.01%. Simultaneously, the ion currents for krypton (83Kr, 82Kr) and rubidium (85Rb) were measured to correct for interferences with the Sr isotopes 84, 86 and 87. These and further (argide) spectral interferences causing bias effects to the Sr isotope abundance ratios have been investigated and an adequate computational correction procedure has been assessed. The whole set of validation data has been used for the calculation of the combined standard measurement uncertainty of the isotopic abundance ratio, resulting in a value of 0.016%. Comparison of the measured 87Sr/86Sr data with thermal ionisation mass spectrometric (TIMS) results, determined on the same cheese samples, agreed within the stated measurement uncertainties, thus indicating that both the validation of the sample preparation procedures and the mass spectrometric measurements cause no evident bias effect with respect to the Sr isotope abundance values. The 87Sr/86Sr isotope abundance ratios in cheese originating from different regions (alpine, pre-alpine, Bretagne, Finland, Canada, Australia) accorded to local geological properties. No difference was found between “casein-bound” and “whole-cheese” Sr isotope abundance ratios within the stated measurement uncertainties.

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Article information

19 Jun 2003
28 Oct 2003
First published
01 Dec 2003

J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2004,19, 227-234
Article type

Application of strontium isotope abundance ratios measured by MC-ICP-MS for food authentication

G. Fortunato, K. Mumic, S. Wunderli, L. Pillonel, J. O. Bosset and G. Gremaud, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2004, 19, 227
DOI: 10.1039/B307068A

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