Scientists use isotopic analysis to ID fraudulent truffles

July 13, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Tuber magnatum, or European white truffles, may be the most expensive food on earth per kilogram. (Photo: Evan Sung)

Scientists from the Jozef Stefan Institute in Slovenia, with technical advice and analytical support from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are studying the composition of truffles—a rare and expensive type of mushroom—in order to determine their origin and help detect fraud. Thanks to a database and the techniques developed, other laboratories worldwide can also test truffles, establish their geographical origin, and verify whether they are genuine.