SNIF-NMR Applications in an Economic Context: Fraud Detection in Food Products
The SNIF-NMR method is now since more than three decades established as a powerful technique for controlling the origin of food commodities. The method provides a unique tool for detecting whether a given main component of a food or beverage has been substituted or diluted by the addition of a substance with the same molecular formula but from a different chemical, botanical, or geographical origin, based on the site-specific distribution of stable isotopes within molecules. In order to illustrate the performance of SNIF-NMR applied in economic contexts, several examples of applications to economically important food products are presented: wines & spirits, vinegar, fruit juices, sugar syrups and natural flavouring substances.
It is shown that studying the above properties allows to check the compliance with legal definitions, and to detect potential economically motivated adulteration. Early applications involved deuterium-NMR only, but recent developments extended the application of the technique to carbon 13 NMR. Multi-component and multi-isotope strategies have also been developed to push the limits of detection of adulterations to an optimum. Alternative site-specific strategies using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry are also used in specific cases.
Finally suitable automatization tools and quality assurance conditions have been defined to ensure reproducible application of SNIF-NMR methods in several expert laboratories worldwide.
KeywordsAuthenticity Food fraud Deuterium NMR Carbon 13 NMR Stable isotopes
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