Dr Scherl’s team at SCAV invested in new instrumentation from Elementar to expand its analytical capabilities to include isotope ratio analysis, a technique with proven benefits for food authenticity analysis. For example, carbon isotope levels can provide information about the natural or synthetic origin of food ingredients, as well as the nature of the producing plant, while nitrogen isotopes give indications about the use of organic or synthetic feed and fertilizer; sulfur isotopes, meanwhile, can be helpful to determine the geographical origins of a foodstuff due to the local geochemistry of the growing environment, whilst oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios provide information about the climate where the food was grown.
In order to further expand its capabilities in this area, Dr Scherl’s lab at SCAV purchased a new stable isotope analysis platform from Elementar in December 2017, consisting of a vario PYRO cube® for multielemental isotope analysis of a broad range of organic and inorganic sample types and an iso FLOW headspace analyzer for analyzing waters, fruit juices, wines and spirits. Both instruments are coupled to an isoprime precisION isotope ratio mass spectrometer forming an ideal combination for the analysis of many commonly adulterated food types. The laboratory also hosts an array of complimentary analytical techniques such as UV and IR spectrophotometry and LC and GC analysis giving a comprehensive tool kit to ensure the protection of the consumer against food fraud.
Elementar’s products were chosen based on the fully integrated solution they provided for the different isotope measurements needed in SCAV’s laboratory. Additionally, Dr Scherl was conscious that managing different software and maintaining complex analytical instrumentation is a critical issue for routine laboratory environments, so the intuitive yet powerful ionOS software and straightforward instrument maintenance offered by Elementar were also important factors.