2012 Annual Report
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), is used as a dietary supplement and is an ingredient in numerous herbal products. It is routinely contaminated or adulterated with Germander (Teucrium canadense or Teucrium chamaedrys) due to the morphological similarities between the two genera. Unfortunately, Germander contains a compound that is hepatotoxic. A fast and reliable analytical method was developed using flow-injection mass spectrometry that can authenticate the purity of Skullcap in 1 minute. A brief survey of skullcap based dietary supplements revealed that 4 out of 13 were contaminated with germander. The project revealed that the commercially available skullcap based dietary supplements sold in the U.S. market are not safe and offers an easy and reliable method to identify unsafe products.
American ginseng (Ginseng quinquefolius) is known worldwide as the purest, finest ginseng and is very important to the economy of Wisconsin. Unfortunately, American ginseng grown in China is being used to counterfeit Wisconsin ginseng. FCMDL has developed the first analytical method in the world, based on liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and pattern recognition mathematics that can differentiate between American ginseng grown in Wisconsin and China. This method can identify counterfeit American ginseng and can provide significant economical benefits to Wisconsin ginseng farmers.
There are more than 8,000 flavonoid compounds in the plant kingdom. While current technology can identify these compounds it is impossible to obtain standards or maintain a standard inventory for quantifying all these compounds. FCMDL has developed an analytical scheme based on the common molecular absorption patterns of these compounds that allows quantification using a few inexpensive, commercially standards and easily determined molar relative response factors. The relative accuracy of the method is plus/minus 15%. High resolution mass spectrometry can readily identify all the flavonoids and this quantification scheme can determine their concentration.