Ionizing radiation applied on food eliminates harmful microorganisms, prevents sprouting and delays ripening. All methods for detection of irradiated food are based on physical, chemical, biological or microbiological changes caused by the treatment with ionizing radiation. When minerals are exposed to ionizing radiation, they accumulate radiation energy and store it in the crystal lattice, by which some electrons remain trapped in the lattice. When these minerals are exposed to optical stimulation, trapped electrons are released. The phenomenon, called optically stimulated luminescence or photostimulated luminescence, occurs when released electrons recombine with holes from luminescence centers in the lattice, resulting in emission of light with certain wavelengths. In this paper, the results of measurements performed on seven different samples of herbs and spices are presented. In order to make a comparison between luminescence signals from samples treated with different doses, unirradiated samples are treated with Co-60 with doses of 1 kGy, 5 kGy and 10 kGy. In all cases it was shown that the higher the applied dose, the higher the luminescence signal.
Luminescence dating is based mainly on the dosimetric properties of quartz and feldspar. These minerals are among the most popular found on Earth, resulting in the possibility of using luminescence methods in practically any environment. Currently, quartz remains the best recognized mineral in terms of dosimetric properties, particularly with regards to results obtained for quartz grains, which are regarded as being the most reliable in luminescence dating. Supporters of luminescence methods are constantly growing, however, these groups do not always have sufficient knowledge to avoid even the most basic of issues that may be encountered overall – from the process of sampling through to the awareness of what a single luminescence result represents. The present paper provides an overview of several practical aspects of luminescence dating such as correct sampling procedures and all necessary information regarding the calculation of the dose rate and equivalent dose with particular reference to potential problems that occur when the age of the sample is being determined. All these aspects are crucial for obtaining a reliable dating result, on the other hand, they remain a potential source of uncertainty.