Press Releases

Natural or Artificial Bubbles? Picarro Isotopic CO2 CRDSTM Application for Testing the Origins of Carbonation in Bottled Water

Sunnyvale, CA РMarch 1, 2010: Is that sparkle natural or artificial? Picarro has released a new test application that can in ten minutes determine whether carbonation in a bottled water product is from manmade or natural sources. The test will serve the needs of the $60 billion global bottled water market by providing a critical, cost- effective and easy-to-use verification mechanism. The test leverages Picarro's Isotopic CO2 CRDSTM (cavity ring- down spectroscopy) cutting-edge technology to allow bottlers, distributors, consumer groups, government regulators, and retailers to quickly verify the source and contents of bottled sparkling water in their supply chain. These types of verifications tests will likely gain importance as “country of origin labeling” becomes more common and consumers demand more visibility into the origins of the foods and beverages they eat and drink.

The Picarro water carbonation test relies on a well documented detection method based on the analysis of the 13C/12C ratio in the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) of carbonated bottled water. Sparkling water that contains natural carbons has a 13C/12C ratio of -10 permil or greater. Sparkling water with carbonation from anthropogenic sources (primarily hydrocarbon combustion) has a lower 13C/12C ratio of -30 permil or less. Picarro's Iso-CO2 CRDSTM analyzer measures 13C/12C ratios with high-precision and reliability. The new Picarro system comprises Picarro's LiaisonTM universal interface that connects the Iso-CO2 CRDSTM to various DIC front-end modules to create a high-throughput instrument stack that can verify carbonation origins for hundreds of samples in a 24-hour period at a fraction of the cost of standard isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) testing. Equally important, Picarro's system can be operated by employees with modest skill requirements and can be moved between locations without difficulty.

The sparkling water carbon identification test is but one of a growing number of new 13C applications emerging from the labs of Picarro as the company quickly expands applications for its devices in the food, water, atmospheric sciences, soil science, and life sciences verticals. “Our CRDS technology will revolutionize how companies use stable isotope testing for food, water and many other areas,” says Picarro CEO Michael Woelk. “Due to the universality of the light stable isotopes we measure, the possible applications are nearly limitless.”

Picarro offers a suite of Iso-CO2 CRDS-based fully-integrated solutions for 13C/12C ratio analysis of bulk samples, both solid and liquid. Samples are thermally or chemically treated to generate CO2 that is automatically fed via Picarro's high-throughput LiaisonTM interface into the isotopic CO2 CRDS analyzer. LiaisonTM manages several processes in parallel, such as feeding one sample into the analyzer, while collecting the CO2 from a second sample, for maximum sample throughput.