Authenticity and traceability of vanilla flavors were investigated using gas chromatographyisotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS). Vanilla flavors produced by chemical synthesis (n = 2), fermentation (n = 1), and extracted from two different species of the vanilla orchid (n = 79) were analyzed. The authenticity of the flavor compound vanillin was evaluated on the basis of measurements of ratios of carbon stable isotopes (delta C-13). It was found that results of delta C-13 for vanillin extracted from Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla tahitensis were significantly different (t test) and that it was possible to differentiate these two groups of natural vanillin from vanillin produced otherwise. Vanilla flavors were also analyzed for ratios of hydrogen stable isotopes (delta H-2). A graphic representation of delta C-13 versus delta H-2 revealed that vanillin extracted from pods grown in adjacent geographic origins grouped together. Accordingly, values of delta C-13 and delta H-2 can be used for studies of authenticity and traceability of vanilla flavors.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2014, Vol 62, Issue 42, p. 10326-10331