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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics


Location: Food Composition and Methods Development Laboratory

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
ARS is interested in developing spectral fingerprinting methods for characterization and authentication of botanical dietary supplements. The Cooperator is interested in developing analytical methods for botanical materials. It has agreed to fund a 5-year proposal (FY2009-FY2013) submitted by FCMDL entitled “Development of spectral fingerprinting methods for rapid characterization and authentication of botanical dietary supplements”.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
FCMDL will develop methods for identification of Panax quinquefolium and Scutellaria lateriflora and characterization of authentic green tea, turmeric, cranberries, and opuntia (prickly cactus). Emphasis will continue to given to determining the efficacy of UV for identity methods. FCMDL will examine the many processed forms of P. ginseng. FCMDL will develop retention alignment programs that will allow application of pattern recognition to liquid chromatographic profiles in collaboration with the Ohio University (Athens,OH).

3. Progress Report:
In collaboration with Thermo Scientific and support from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS/NIH), FCMDL is establishing an in-house database for phytochemical compounds, such as anthocyanins and other flavonoids, using high resolution mass spectrometry. To date, more than 300 compounds have been positively identified using the scientific literature and authentic reference materials. The new database contains their exact mass, chemical formula, structure, full mass spectra, and molecular absorption spectra. The database will be used to facilitate identification of chemical components in future analysis of food materials and will save significant time and resources. 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.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
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