Determining the origin of first generation biodiesels based on independent measurements requires the identification of one or more of the following: i) the raw biological material, ii) the geographical origin of the materials and iii) the manufacturing process used.
Ratios of concentrations of chemical elements could be markers for the geographical and/or biological origins of plant based products. In the current study the researchers focussed on the measurement of elemental mass fractions in certain biodiesel raw materials, namely soya beans, canola seeds and rape seeds. The results revealed that, irrespective of the geographical origin of the investigated samples, the biological origin of the raw plant materials could be identified.
Establishing a link between raw materials and biodiesels is challenging. The elemental composition of the raw materials will not necessarily be reflected in the final biodiesel. This is because of different yields in the transfer of chemical elements from the plants into the fuel product. Some elements may be used as additives to improve the biodiesel properties, or may appear as contaminations during the manufacturing process. Nevertheless, a rather good correlation was found between the sulfur-copper concentration ratios in raw plant materials and those in the corresponding biodiesels. The researchers also identified copper as a possible target element for future isotopic measurements, and thus the copper isotopic signature as another potential chemical marker of origin.
More information can be found in the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2014.01.071 
The Commission has the task of monitoring ‘the origin of biofuels and bioliquids consumed in the Community and the main third countries of supply’ [EU Directive 2009/28/EC].