Using elemental profiles and stable isotopes to trace the origin of green coffee beans on the global market


  • This article is part of the Journal of Mass Spectrometry special issue entitled “2nd MS Food Day” edited by Gianluca Giorgi.

Alessandro Santato, Centro Trasferimento Tecnologico, Fondazione Edmund Mach. E-mail:


A broad elemental profile incorporating 54 elements (Li, Be, B, Na, Mg, Al, P, K, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, Ge, As, Se, Rb, Sr, Y, Mo, Pd, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, Te, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Eu, Gd, Dy, Er, Tm, Yb, Re, Ir, Pt, Au, Hg, Tl, Pb, Bi and U) in combination with δ2H, δ13C, δ15N and δ18O was used to characterise the composition of 62 green arabica (Coffea arabica) and robusta (Coffea canephora) coffee beans grown in South and Central America, Africa and Asia, the four most internationally renowned areas of production. The δ2H, Mg, Fe, Co and Ni content made it possible to correctly assign 95% of green coffee beans to the appropriate variety. Canonical discriminant analysis, performed using δ13C, δ15N, δ18O, Li, Mg, P, K, Mn, Co, Cu, Se, Y, Mo, Cd, La and Ce correctly traced the origin of 98% of coffee beans. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.