Linking growing conditions to stable isotope ratios and elemental compositions of Costa Rican bananas (Musa spp.)

Zhijun Wang, Sara W. Erasmus, Pieter Dekker, Boli Guo, Jetse J. Stoorvogel, Saskia M. van Ruth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Traceability of agricultural produce is getting increasingly important for numerous reasons including marketing, certification, and food safety. Globally, banana (Musa spp.) with its high nutritional value and easy accessibility, is a popular fruit among consumers. Bananas are produced throughout the (sub-)tropics under a wide range of environmental conditions. Environmental conditions could influence the composition of bananas. Understanding the effect of these conditions on fruit composition provides a way of increasing the fruit's traceability and linking it to its origin – a crucial aspect for the increasing global supply chain. In this study, we examined the influence of growing conditions on the isotopic and elemental composition of bananas produced in 15 Costa Rican farms. A total of 88 bananas (peel and pulp) were collected from the farms and analysed for isotopic signatures (δ13C, δ15N, and δ18O) and elemental compositions. The growing conditions were characterized in terms of climate, topography and soil conditions. The isotopic ratios differed significantly between groups of farms. The δ13C and δ15N values were mainly influenced by soil types, while rainfall and temperatures related more to the δ18O values. The elemental compositions of the bananas were primarily influenced by the local rainfall and soil types, while the geographical origin could be distinguished using principal component analysis. The overall results link the growing conditions to the isotopic and elemental compositions of bananas, thereby also providing a way to trace its origin.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108882
JournalFood Research International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Banana
  • Elemental profiling
  • Geographical attribute
  • Stable isotopic fingerprinting


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