Bio-based materials

Bio-based materials

Identification of “bio-based” materials by C14 quantification.


Checks for the use of “bio-based” materials are essential to ascertain the efficient use of organic materials containing carbon from renewable sources and therefore, non-fossil, such as carbon from plants or enzyme synthesis.

These products, known as “bio-based” can be a more sustainable alternative to traditional production of different types of materials (e.g. plastic polymers, synthetic fibres, etc.), which use raw materials from fossil carbon (oil), and therefore, not from renewable sources.

The test of radiocarbon content (14C) is the only test able to define carbon content from a renewable source (bio-based carbon). Radiocarbon (14C) is an unstable isotope of carbon 12 (12C), characterized by a half-life time of approx. 5000 years.

The technique is based on identifying carbon 14C content, which is present in materials from renewable sources and absent in materials with oil-based origins.

The survey technique used (SCAR spectroscopy) is innovative compared to accelerated mass spectrometry (AMS): the instrument provides the same test sensitivity and accuracy, reducing analysis times and sample preparation time to a minimum.

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