Isotopic Characterization of Compounds by GC/C/IRMS

During the 1990s, the CAIS pioneered the development of analytical methods to differentiate natural and synthetic flavors, ingredients, and manufacturing methods for the detection of adulteration in food and beverage products. Using isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) and techniques for radiocarbon measurement, the CAIS continues to add to a database of isotopic values for carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen in natural products. These values are routinely used to characterize the naturalness of both source materials and the process of formation for a large number of compounds. More »

More recently, the CAIS has merged the technique of gas chromatographic / combustion separation of complex mixtures with isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) to isotopically characterize the various constituents of complex organic compounds. The technique will expand the present capability for analysis of food, flavoring, and beverage products, increasing the sensitivity and selectivity for the individual components in order to authenticate "off-the-shelf" products.

The same techniques have also been applied to determine individual biological compounds and geochemical species in the environment. Recent applications include the use of stable isotopes as geochemical biomarkers for the determination of organic carbon source and formation pathways of dissolved organic matter in aquatic sediments, and of methanogens in hot spring environments.

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For further information contact Dr. Randy Culp (706) 542-6122