Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


1.4 CHEMICAL SCIENCES, 3.3 HEALTH SCIENCES, Nutrition, Dietetics, Public and environmental health


Background Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is an atomic emission spectroscopic technique which uses a focused pulsed laser beam to generate plasma from the material. The plasma contains atoms, ions and free electrons which emit electromagnetic radiation as the plasma cools down. The emitted light is resolved by a spectrometer to form a spectrum. Recently, LIBS has become an emerging analytical technique for characterisation and identification of materials; its multi-elemental analysis, fast response, remote sensing, little to no sample preparation, low running cost and ease of use make LIBS a promising technique for the food sector.

Scope and approach The present article reviews the feasibility of LIBS for food analysis. It presents recent progress and applications of LIBS as an efficient and reagent-free, at-line tool capable of replacing traditional time-consuming analytical methods for assessing the quality and composition of food products. An overview of LIBS fundamentals, instrumentation and statistical data analysis is also provided.

Key findings and conclusions Although LIBS technology shows many advantages, challenges remain in terms of sample preparation, matrix effects, spectral pre-processing, model calibration and instrument development.