The growing interest of consumers for the typical products provided with a European quality brand, such as PGI or PDO, is pushing companies and/or producers association to identify valid means to protect the origin and uniqueness of their products. The determination of isotope ratios using IRMS (Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry) is based on significant differences in the relationship between stable isotopes of bio-elements present in some organic molecules. The differences are due to kinetic-related physical and chemical factors, respectively botanical or geographical origin of the tested product. A proper food source classification is reached by combining the IRMS technique to the analysis of multielemental composition (Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Na, P, Sr, V and Zn) by ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometry) and NIR (Near InfraRed Spectroscopy) analysis that uses the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
From a genetic point of view, the technology takes advantage by information linked to the use of genetic regions, such as molecular markers (single nucleotide polymorphism and structural variants), allowing the unequivocal discrimination of typical products.
The innovation of the service consists in assisting to documental traceability, which provides for the determination, collection and recording of the principal data, a chemical and genetics tracking system of the food product. In particular, the research group possesses a deep knowledge and know-how in the field of the chemical traceability of several fruit and derivatives (citrus fruit, peaches, strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, table grapes and extra virgin olive oil, etc.). Concerning the genetic traceability, the group is the Italian leader in the field on citrus genetics.