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Authenticating Natural-Sourced Food Ingredients with Carbon-14 Analysis

In an article published recently in the Asia & Middle East Food Trade Journal, Beta Analytic described the use of Carbon-14 analysis as a tool to identify economically motivated adulteration in natural ingredients.

The presence of carbon-14 in organic materials allows carbon-14 analysis to calculate the percentage of naturally sourced versus petrochemical-derived ingredients present in an ingredient or product. The measurement is performed in accordance with ASTM-D6866 standard using an Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS).

Results are measured as a percentage, ranging from 0-100% depending on the quantity of biomass in the product. An ingredient completely sourced from biomass will have 100% biobased content whereas a product that is completely sourced from petrochemical-derived ingredients will yield a result of 0%. A product with 50% biobased content represents a mixture of both naturally sourced and fossil-derived ingredients.

Due to the increase in demand for natural products in the market, validating natural ingredients claims is vital for companies. Carbon-14 analysis allows manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to accurately prove the naturality of their product ingredients and fulfill customer expectations.

Case Study: Garlic Oil

A study conducted by Beta Analytic was designed to identify the existence of adulterants in five garlic oil samples, four of which were labelled as “100% pure garlic essential oil” and one artificial garlic oil.

Through the use of Carbon-14 analysis, the results demonstrated that only one of the four products labelled as “100% pure garlic oil” supported the natural label claim, despite all five samples having passed a GC-MS chemical composition test for garlic oil.


Carbon-14 analysis is an accurate method for suppliers and distributors to authenticate ingredients’ naturality, as this testing accurately identifies the presence of petrochemical-derived adulterants by determining what percentage of an ingredient was sourced from biomass.

For more details, please read Beta Analytic’s article Authenticating natural-sourced food ingredients with Carbon-14 analysis published in Asia & Middle East Food Trade Journal.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 and is filed under Flavor & Fragrance, Flavors Carbon-14 Analysis, Natural Product Testing .