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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Metabolomic Profiles and Chemical Fingerprints for Black Cohosh and Echinacea

Location: Food Composition and Methods Development Lab

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To develop metabolomic profiles and chemical fingerprints for the identification and authentication of species and hybrids of black cohosh (genus Actaea) and Echinacea (genus Echinacea). Black cohosh and Echinacea are popular dietary supplements with high market shares. Both are comprised of numerous species that are frequently used to adulterate or substitute for the target species. In addition, echinacea species readily form hybrids, a characteristic that creates further confusion. This study will develop methods for rapid differentiation between species and hybrids of these two genera.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Authentic samples of black cohosh and Echinacea species and hybrid species will be collected. Uncertainty regarding hybrids of Echinacea will be resolved using DNA barcoding. Chemical fingerprints will be obtained based on chromatographic profiles from ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) and spectral fingerprints from direct injection high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). Chemometric pattern recognition methods will be applied to the fingerprints to discriminate between species and hybrids. Metabolomic profiles will be obtained by combining the chromatography and mass spectrometry of UHPLC-HRMS, determining accurate masses, and identifying specific compounds. DNA barcodes will be obtained in collaboration with AuthenTechnologies (Albany, CA). Metabolomic and chemical fingerprints will be correlated with DNA barcodes and morphological identification. The results of these studies will be incorporated into a publicly available database.


3.Progress Report:

This agreement is to compare the taxonomy and metabolite profiles of Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa) and Echinacea (E. purpera and E. angustifolia). NCA will furnish FCMDL with Black Cohosh samples from plant accessions harvested 5 years ago at 22 sites and samples from newly harvested plants from the same sites. In addition, samples of Black Cohosh with endophytic fungi and samples of pure fungi will also be made available. It is believed that the fungi modify genetic expression of the plants and should alter the plant metabolite profile. Initially, NCA furnished large quantities of 2 Black Cohosh samples for method development. In addition, another 50 samples (in lesser quantities) were provided for NMR classification work in collaboration with Bruker BioSpin (no formal agreement). The bulk of this continuing research is covered in the new OSQR project at FCMDL that starts in FY2014.


Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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