, Volume 390, Issue 2, pp 487-494

Identification of Marchfeld asparagus using Sr isotope ratio measurements by MC-ICP-MS

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Abstract

This work focuses on testing and application of Sr isotope signatures for the fast and reliable authentication and traceability of Asparagus officinalis originating from Marchfeld, Austria, using multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry after optimised Rb/Sr separation. The major sample pool comprises freeze-dried and microwave-digested asparagus samples from Hungary and Slovakia which are compared with Austrian asparagus originating from the Marchfeld region, which is a protected geographical indication. Additional samples from Peru, the Netherlands and Germany were limited in number and allowed therefore only restricted statistical evaluation. Asparagus samples from Marchfeld were harvested within two subsequent years in order to investigate the annual variation. The results show that the Sr isotope ratio is consistent within these 2 years of investigation. Moreover, the Sr isotope ratio of total Sr in soil was found to be significantly higher than in an NH4NO3 extract, reflecting the mobile (bioavailable) phase. The isotope composition in the latter extract corresponds well to the range found in the asparagus samples in Marchfeld, even though the concentration of Sr in asparagus shows no direct correlation to the concentration of Sr in the mobile phase of the soil. The major question was whether the ‘Marchfelder Spargel’ can be distinguished from samples from the neighbouring countries of Hungary and Slovakia. According to our findings, they can be clearly (100%) singled out from the Hungarian samples and can be distinguished from the Slovakian asparagus samples with a probability of more than 80%.