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A total of 54 Korean bottled waters were investigated to characterize their origins and types using elemental and isotopic composition, as well as to identify elemental and isotopic changes in desalinated marine water that arise due to desalination. The different types of bottled water displayed a wide pH range (3.42 to 7.21). The elemental compositions of still and sparkling waters were quite similar, whereas desalinated marine water was clearly distinguished by its high concentrations of Ca, Mg, B, and Cl. In addition, desalinated marine water had much higher isotope ratios of oxygen and hydrogen (−0.5 and −2‰, respectively) than still and sparkling waters (−8.4 and −57‰). The elemental composition of desalinated marine water was adjusted through post-treatment procedures; in particular, boron was greatly enriched during desalination processes. The carbon isotope compositions of dissolved inorganic carbon (δ13CDIC values) varied widely according to the origins of the bottled waters (−25.6 to −13.6‰ for still water, –31.2 to −26.7‰ for sparkling water, and −24.1 to −6.3‰ for desalinated marine water). This indicates that carbon isotopes in dissolved inorganic carbon are significantly fractionated by desalination processes and re-modified through post-treatment procedures. The results suggest that combined elemental and stable isotopic tracers are useful for identifying the origin of bottled water, verifying elemental and isotopic modifications during desalination processes, and characterizing various water types of bottled waters. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.