Method to Identify Asari Origin with Isotopes Developed in Japan

Society Lifestyle Science

Tokyo, Feb. 3 (Jiji Press)--A team of Japanese researchers have developed a method to identify the origin of asari clams by measuring the levels of a neodymium isotope in the shells.

The method, developed by the team, including researchers from the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute of the University of Tokyo and Hirosaki University, is believed to be applicable to other fisheries goods. It is expected to help detect and prevent the falsification of product origin.

A survey by the Japanese fisheries ministry has found that 97 pct of asari clams branded as being produced in Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan were likely to have been produced overseas, eroding trust in product origin labeling.

Neodymium is a rare earth that is used in strong magnets. The isotope, neodymium-143, is believed to be rarer in older geological conditions, and is found in small quantities in asari clams.

The team, including researcher Kentaro Tanaka from the institute, sought to utilize the fact that neodymium isotope levels in seawater differs by location due to the dirt and sand that flows in from rivers.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press