Stable isotope analysis as a tool for determining seafood provenance

K. Gopi, D. Mazumder*, N. Saintilan, F. Md Yusoff, J. Sammut

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Aim: To determine if stable isotope analysis is a viable tool for authenticating the geographical origin of seafood purchased from the market. The carbon and nitrogen isotope values of samples were analysed to determine if they differ according to their source.

    Methodology: One set of barramundi samples were purchased from three different markets and another set was obtained directly from a farm. Two sets of tiger prawn samples were obtained from the same markets as the barramundi. These samples were then analysed using isotope ratio mass spectrometry to determine their carbon and nitrogen isotopic values.

    Results: The barramundi samples showed significant differences between sources in both the δ13C (< 0.05) and δ15N (< 0.05) values. Similarly, the tiger prawn samples also showed significant differences between sources in the δ13C (< 0.05) and δ15N (p-value < 0.05) values.

    Interpretation: This pilot study successfully distinguished between barramundi samples and tiger prawns from different geographical locations. We recommend that further studies be conducted with a higher number of samples, and multiple sites from different geographic regions, and to account for factors influencing the δ13C and δ15N values. This study highlights the potential of isotopic analysis as a tool for policy makers and regulatory bodies to verify seafood provenance and enforce industry compliance for source labelling of seafood products.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)741-746
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Environmental Biology
    Issue number5 (special issue)
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


    • Barramundi
    • C:N ratio
    • Seafood provenance
    • Stable isotope analysis


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