The global demand for coconut sugar has increased 500% in the last 10 years, giving producers problems to supply this demand. Coconut sugar like other palm sugars, is marketed as being richer in minerals and with a lower glycaemic index than cane sugar. Its high price leaves it vulnerable to adulteration with cane or even beet sugar. Coconut sugar is from a C3 plant, hence adulteration with cane sugar from a C4 plant is easily detected by measuring the 13C/12C isotopic ratio, which is not the case for beet sugar also from a C3 plant. Researchers at JRC, Geel have carried out a feasibility study using energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence as a screening tool to verify its authenticity. Mass fractions of P, Cl, S, K, Ca, Fe, Cu, Br, Rb, and Sr determined in eleven coconut, ten cane, and one beetroot sugar samples, purchased in Belgian, Spanish, Polish, and Italian supermarkets were used for discriminating the different sugars. On average, the mass fractions of all the mentioned elements were higher in coconut than in cane and beetroot sugars. Chemometric models constructed were characterised by zero false positives; three coconut sugars (27%) could not be classified as such, neither as cane sugars.
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