The standardized analytical method ASTM D6866 was developed in the United States and uses carbon-14 testing to determine the biobased content of solid, liquid and gaseous material. This accurately shows the percentage of material that is of biobased origins compared to petrochemical-derived synthetics. The test can be used for products such as flavors, fragrances, food, beverages and supplements.
ASTM D6866 does not distinguish between different natural sources, only whether the material is biomass-derived or petrochemical-sourced or a combination of the two.
As the demand for natural products has increased, so too has the incentive for economically motivated adulteration. With natural ingredients often being more expensive and difficult to produce, replacing them with petrochemical-derived synthetics provides a cheaper and easier route. For industry stakeholders, being able to verify their products are indeed natural and unadulterated is crucial, as even inadvertent mislabeling can have both legal and financial consequences.
By measuring the carbon-14 content, ASTM D6866 is able to distinguish between contemporary carbon sources like biomass from plants (biobased carbon) and carbon from petroleum derivatives. Biomass has a known level of carbon-14, whereas petroleum-derived materials do not contain any. Depending on the composition of the tested material, the result reported will be between 0% and 100% biobased.
Beta Analytic provides carbon-14 natural product testing in accordance with ASTM D6866, reporting the percentage of natural versus petrochemical-derived material. The ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited lab reports the results in 2-5 business days.
Beta Analytic was part of the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) Subcommittee that authored ASTM D6866 in 2004. For natural product source testing, ASTM D6866 results are reported as a fraction of the Total Organic Carbon (TOC).