Traceability of organic fish


To develop a practical methodology for the authentication of organic salmonid products, 130 fillet samples of trout and salmon originating from organic and conventional aquaculture as well as wild stocks (salmon) were collected from the German market over one year. Combined stable isotope analysis of δ 15 N and δ 13 C in defatted dry matter allowed differentiation of organically farmed from conventionally farmed salmon and brown trout, whether raw, smoked or graved. For the additional distinction of organic and wild salmon, a second analysis of δ 13 C in fish lipids was required. Fatty acid analysis completely differentiated the three production types of salmon just by the linoleic acid content in the fish lipids, which was lowest in wild and highest in conventional salmon. Moreover, the elevated myristic acid content allowed organic to be distinguished from wild and conventional salmon. Furthermore, organic and conventional brown trout could be distinguished by combining the oleic acid and gondoic acid contents. Analysis of the free astaxanthin isomeric pattern allowed a clear distinction of conventional and wild salmon, but organic salmon showed variable patterns that did not consistently allow the authentication of their origin. While a special feed composition is required in organic aquaculture, the composition of conventional aquaculture feed has changed considerably within the last decade. Consequently, the percentages of animal and vegetable components, which clearly vary between the production types, result in distinctive features in terms of stable isotope or fatty acid composition that are utilisable for the authentication of organic salmonid products. To account for potential changes in aquaculture feeding practices, the established distinctive limits should be traced and possibly adapted in future.


Molkentin, J., Lehmann, I., Ostermeyer, U., Rehbein, H., Traceability of organic fish – Authenticating the production origin of salmonids by chemical and isotopic analyses. Food Control. Volume: 53 Pages 55-66 Published: JUL 2015.