Connecting/Federating Stable Isotopic Data Resources

Food traceability tools that tell us where our food comes from and how it was grown
Dr Nina Welti, CSIRO's trusted supply chains expert, with a laptop with maps of Australia and some fruit on the key board.
Dr Nina Welti, CSIRO's trusted supply chains expert. Image: CSIRO
Who will benefit
Agricultural industry, exporters, researchers, industry

The Challenge

The ability of Australian agrifood businesses to trade globally is dependent on the assurances related to the claims and attributes of the products being exported.

Demand is increasing for independent evidence to verify a product’s authenticity for market access. For example, the increasing demand for low-emission commodities and products such as beef, cotton for the fashion industry or canola for biofuels.

The evidence required may exist in many forms and organisations. As a nation, there will be a need to federate and intersect disparate data sources for a common benefit.

Why isotopes?

Isotopes are unique chemical signatures or ‘fingerprints’ used to understand the environment, such as movement of water through the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, carbon and nutrient cycles in soils, groundwater flows and storage and geological patterns.

Isotopes found in food relate to the soil, water, production techniques and climatic conditions that it grew in. Isotopes are used for traceability by the agricultural and food industry to track the source, production and distribution of food products around the world.

Publicly available isotopic data exists in many forms and organisations and needs to be brought together to support Australia’s agriculture and food system as a whole. It’s a big challenge, beyond the realms of a single organisation, to connect these rich databases in a way that’s trusted, shareable and useful.

The Response

We’re building a national digital platform that brings together a wealth of disparate, publicly-available data from across Australia’s national research organisations so that it can be used to tackle our biggest challenges.

Our vision is to use public data collections to create accessible and trusted traceability tools that can tell us where our food comes from and how it was grown. We want to ensure equitable access across industry to these science-based traceability methods and approaches.

By coordinating this effort between the partner organisations we can ensure long-term viability and utility of valuable data and balance potential commercial and scientific outcomes. As a world-first demonstration, the work could be expanded overseas.

Who Will Benefit

  • Agricultural industry
  • Exporters
  • Researchers 
  • Industry

The Partners

  • CSIRO (lead)
  • ARDC
  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
  • Geoscience Australia (GA)
  • National Measurement Institute (NMI)

Target Outcomes

The main output of this project will be the development of a federated data platform that unifies and connects stable isotopic datasets and upholds the FAIR data principles to enable data reuse and the addition of further datasets. 

The immediate focus of the platform will be to federate data at a national level with an expectation that the platform design principles employed enable alignment to concurrent developments such as the Australian Agriculture Data Exchange initiative, for example.

Register your Interest

To register your interest in the project Connecting/Federating Stable Isotopic Data Resources, please complete this form.