Institute of Physics - Centre for Science and Education - Cooperation with industry
Numerous national regulations require the use of biogenic acetic acid in the food industry or a clear statement on the product label that synthetic acetic acid was used. Therefore, there is a great need to develop fast and definitive method to distinguish between synthetic and biogenic acetic acid, as well as to check if there are any mixtures of both of them. Measurement of radiocarbon concentration in acetic acid seems to be ideally suited for this purpose.
Any product prepared using modern biogenic carbon should contain radiocarbon, while any product prepared using carbon obtained from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil) and minerals older than ca. 50,000 years should contain no measurable quantities of radiocarbon. Synthetic acetic acid is mainly produced from natural gas. Therefore, any mixture of biogenic and synthetic acetic acid should be easily identified with the use of radiocarbon method. To obtain specific radiocarbon radioactivity of acetic acid in food products, pure, water-free acetic acid was first extracted from a sample. Fast and efficient method of acetic acid extraction from food products was developed. Determination of radiocarbon concentration may be then measured using liquid scintillation beta spectrometry.
To sum up, our Institute offers expertise and cooperation with the food and fuel industries.