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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2006;20(21):3205-12.

Identification of sources and production processes of bottled waters by stable hydrogen and oxygen isotope ratios.

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  • 1Geological Survey of Slovenia, Dimiceva 14, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Bottled water is a food product that considerably depends on the environment from which it originates, not only at the place where it is produced, but predominantly on the conditions in the recharge area of the wells captured for bottling. According to their source and the bottling process, bottled waters can be divided into natural and artificially sparkling waters, still and flavoured waters. These waters originate from various parts of the hydrological cycle and their natural origin is reflected in their hydrogen and oxygen stable isotopic compositions (delta(2)H and delta(18)O). A total of 58 domestic and foreign brands and 16 replicates of bottled waters, randomly collected on the Slovene market in September 2004, were analysed for delta(2)H and delta(18)O. The isotopic composition varied between -83 per thousand and -46 per thousand with an average of -66 per thousand for hydrogen, and between -11.9 per thousand and -7.5 per thousand with an average of -9.6 per thousand for oxygen. This investigation helped (1) to determine and test the classification of bottled waters, (2) to determine the natural origin of bottled water, and (3) to indicate differences between the natural and production processes. The production process may influence the isotopic composition of flavoured waters and artificially sparkling waters. No such modification was observed for still and natural sparkling waters. The methods applied, together with hydrological knowledge, can be used for the authentication of bottled waters for regulatory and consumer control applications.

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