Identification of Milk Origin and Process-Induced Changes in Milk by Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry
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Stable isotope values were used to develop a new analytical approach enabling the simultaneous identification of milk samples either processed with different heating regimens or from different geographical origins. The samples consisted of raw, pasteurized (HTST), and ultrapasteurized (UHT) milk from different Italian origins. The approach consisted of the analysis of the isotope ratio of δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N for the milk samples and their fractions (fat, casein, and whey). The main finding of this work is that as the heat processing affects the composition of the milk fractions, changes in δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N were also observed. These changes were used as markers to develop pattern recognition maps based on principal component analysis and supervised classification models, such as linear discriminant analysis (LDA), multivariate regression (MLR), principal component regression (PCR), and partial least-squares (PLS). The results give proof of the concept that isotope ratio mass spectroscopy can discriminate simultaneously between milk samples according to their geographical origin and type of processing.