Natural Product Testing Using ISO 16620-2

ISO 16620-2 is an international standardized method for determining biobased content of solid, liquid and gaseous samples using Carbon-14 analysis that can be applied to flavors, fragrances, food, beverages and supplements. An ISO 16620-2 analytical report for a flavor or fragrance sample would show the percentage of biobased carbon as a fraction of total carbon (TC) or total organic carbon (TOC) in a material submitted for analysis. The TC result represents all the carbon present in the material, both organic and inorganic. The TOC results, on the other hand, represents only the organic carbon present.

Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, referred to as Method C in the standard, is the most advanced technology capable of obtaining high-precision results from samples as small as 1 mg.

ISO 16620-2 does not differentiate whether the natural product is sourced from specific plants, animals, or microbiological materials. It is not a content specification analysis. The ISO 16620-2 report shows the percentage of a product that comes from natural sources (biobased content) versus synthetic petroleum-derived content.

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How does ISO 16620-2 Detect Petroleum-Derived Synthetic Substances?

ISO 16620-2 detects artificial substances in materials through radiocarbon (Carbon-14) analysis. Materials sourced completely from biomass have a known Carbon-14 level and will be 100% biobased according to ISO 16620-2. On the other hand, materials wholly made from petroleum-derived components have no Carbon-14 and will be 0% biobased. A product made of biomass (plant extracts) and petroleum-based chemical will have a biobased content between 0% and 100% proportional to the quantity of each component in the product.

Natural Source Testing for Flavors, Fragrances, Food and Supplements

Increasing consumer demand for naturally sourced flavor and fragrances gives industry stakeholders greater impetus to verify that ingredients do indeed originate from nature and are not adulterated with synthetic imitations. In highly regulated marketplaces where mislabelling could have legal and commercial repercussions, a reliable natural source test is critical at the procurement, research and development, product launch and supply stages.

Biobased carbon testing standardized as ISO 16620-2 is an ideal analytical tool for producers in the industry who are presented with the challenge of demonstrating or verifying the natural source of flavor and fragrances.

Note: ISO 16620-2 is equivalent to the ASTM D6866 standard.

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Beta Analytic’s Fast Natural Products Authenticity Testing

ISO/IEC 17025:2017-accredited Beta Analytic provides Carbon-14 analyses to determine the percentage of natural versus synthetic content of flavors, additives, coloring, fragrances, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and other chemical components in food, drugs, and beverages. The lab provides results in 7 business days or less. A priority service is available for results required in 4 business days or less.

Beta Analytic does not report C14 results as a fraction of Total Carbon (TC) by mass. The Miami-based lab measures isotopic ratios and reports results for natural products source testing according to ASTM D6866 or ISO 16620-2 8.3.2: biobased carbon content as a fraction of TC or TOC.