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Lime in the coconut

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SUSAN PETRIE, SENIOR EDITOR, [email protected]

Sales of pirated, counterfeit, knockoff, and fake goods may comprise, according to recent statistics, more than 3% of world trade. Customs seizure data from 2016 estimates the value of imported nongenuine goods to be around $500 billion, according to a 2019 report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

 The global coconut water market was valued at over $4 billion in 2018 and is projected to increase significantly at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5% from 2019 to 2028, according to MarketWatch Inc.


The global coconut water market was valued at over $4 billion in 2018 and is projected to increase significantly at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5% from 2019 to 2028, according to MarketWatch Inc.


Among popular counterfeited objects are luxury handbags, watches, and footwear; consumer electronics; computer accessories; pharmaceuticals; Parmesan cheese; olive oil; and now, coconut water.

But it may be Raman to the rescue. In a study published earlier this year by the journal Food Chemistry, researchers at the University of Manchester in England have shown that Raman spectroscopy “has significant potential as a rapid accurate analytical method for the detection of adulteration.”

Differentiating adulterated coconut water from pure involved the team creating more than 150 samples, which were heated to mimic pasteurization and diluted with various sugar solutions. The samples were then analyzed with Raman spectroscopy at 785-nm excitation, and 620 spectra were also analyzed with chemometrics. Results showed successful quantification of dilution and adulteration, even at levels below 3%.

The group, led by professor Roy Goodacre, believes Raman spectroscopy has the potential to be a fast and reliable method for detecting whether a beverage has been “stretched,” or diluted.

Why mess with the coconut water? Reportedly, the five primary countries that supply the increasingly popular and lucrative drink are struggling to keep up with demand.

Securing industry.com reported last year that an investigation by the U.K.’s National Food Crime Unit found that almost two-thirds of “pure” coconut drinks intercepted at the point of import contained undeclared added substances from noncoconut sources.

Published: October 2019
Glossary
raman spectroscopy
Raman spectroscopy is a technique used in analytical chemistry and physics to study vibrational, rotational, and other low-frequency modes in a system. Named after the Indian physicist Sir C.V. Raman who discovered the phenomenon in 1928, Raman spectroscopy provides information about molecular vibrations by measuring the inelastic scattering of monochromatic light. Here is a breakdown of the process: Incident light: A monochromatic (single wavelength) light, usually from a laser, is...
Lighter SideRaman spectroscopycoconut water

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