Genetic and geochemical signatures to prevent frauds and counterfeit of high-quality asparagus and pistachio

Zannella, C., Carucci, F., Aversano, R., Prohaska, T., Vingiani, S., Carputo, D., Adamo, P. (2017). Food Chemistry 237, 545–552. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.05.158.

                                                                                                                                                             A fingerprinting strategy based on genetic (simple sequence repeat) and geochemical (multielement and 87Sr/86Sr ratio) analysis was tested to prove the geographical origin of high-quality Italian products “White Asparagus from Bassano del Grappa” and “Green Pistachio from Bronte”. Genetic analysis generated many polymorphic alleles and different specific amplified fragments in both agriproducts. In addition, a core set of markers was defined. According to variability within production soils and products, potential candidate elements linking asparagus (Zn, P, Cr, Mg, B, K) and pistachio (Mn, P, Cr, Mg, Ti, B, K, Sc, S) to the production areas were identified. The Sr isotopic signature was an excellent marker when Italian asparagus was compared with literature data for Hungarian and Peruvian asparagus. This work reinforces the use of Sr isotope composition in the soil bioavailable fraction, as assessed by 1 mol/L NH4NO3, to distinguish white asparagus and pistachio originating from different geographical areas.