Discrimination of production environments of specialty coffees by means of stable isotopes and discriminant model
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The south of Minas Gerais, Brazil stands out among various regions through its capacity for production of specialty coffees. Its potential, manifested through being one of the most award-winning Brazilian regions in recent years, has been recognized by the Cup of Excellence (COE). With the evident relationship between product quality and the environment in mind, the need arises for scientific studies to provide a foundation for discrimination of product origin, creating new methods for combating possible fraud. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in discrimination of production environments of specialty coffees from the Serra da Mantiqueira of Minas Gerais by means of the discriminant model. Coffee samples were composed of ripe yellow and red fruits collected manually at altitudes below 1,000 m, from 1,000 to 1,200 m and above 1,200 m. The yellow and red fruits were subjected to dry processing and wet processing, with five replications. A total of 119 samples were used for discrimination of specialty coffee production environments by means of stable isotopes and statistical modeling. The model generated had an accuracy rate of 89% in discrimination of environments and was composed of the isotope variables of δ15N, δ13C, %C, %N, δD, δ18O (meteoric water) and sensory analysis scores. In addition, for the first time, discrimination of environments on a local geographic scale, within a single municipality, was proposed and successfully concluded. This shows that isotope analysis is an effective method in verifying geographic origin for specialty coffees.