Ginseng authenticity testing by measuring carbon, nitrogen and sulphur stable isotope compositions that differ based on cultivation, land and organic fertilizer type

Introduction: China, Korea, Canada, and the USA produce more than 99% of the global ginseng harvest. The quality of ginseng production is affected by various physical, chemical and microbial properties of the soil. Continuous cropping of ginseng is discouraged because the soil fertility is highly decreased. Therefore, management of the soil quality is paramount in the production of a large yield and high quality of ginseng. In Korea, production of ginseng is falling due to a lack ofnew fields to use for this purpose, this has led to increased research into alternative ways of increasing the quality of yield and tackling pathogen based disorders such as cylindocarpon destructans caused by intensive ginseng cultivation. The stable isotope signature of ginseng can be used to analyse the environmental conditions that a particular crop of ginseng has been cultivated in. This can then be used as evidence of the quality of the ginseng in question.