Microbiological screening method for indication of irradiation of spices and herbs: A BCR collaborative study

Gun Wirtanen, Anna-Maija Sjöberg, F. Boisen, Timo Alanko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


A BCR1 collaborative study was conducted with a microbiological screening method based on the combined use of the direct epifluorescent filter technique (DEFT) and the conventional aerobic plate count method (APC) for detection of irradiation of spices and herbs. Collaborative samples of whole allspice, whole and powdered black peppers, whole white pepper, paprika powder, cut basil, cut marjoram, and crushed cardamom irradiated with doses of 0, 5, and 10 kGy were analyzed by 8 laboratories. The total number of the collaborative samples, with arbitrarily labeled codes, was 192. The percentage of acceptable results was 95.5%. The identification of irradiated from nonirradiated spices and herbs was analyzed statistically by using explorative techniques. The average values of the differences between DEFT and APC in samples irradiated with doses of 5 and 10 kGy were 5.1 and 6.1 logarithmic units, respectively. The differences between DEFT and APC generally increased to at least 3.5 logarithmic units, whereas the difference in the case of unirradiated spices was insignificant. However, conclusive evidence of irradiation relies on the knowledge that the sample was not fumigated or heat treated. The reproducibility relative standard deviations for the differences were 12.3, 19.9, and 20.7% with the doses of 10 and 5 kGy and for unirradiated samples, respectively, indicating acceptable variabilities among laboratories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-681
JournalJournal of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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