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Ancuta Cristina Raclariu, Ramona Paltinean, Laurian Vlase, Aurélie Labarre, Vincent Manzanilla, Mihael Cristin Ichim, Gianina Crisan, Anne Krag Brysting & Hugo de Boer. Comparative authentication of Hypericum perforatum herbal products using DNA metabarcoding, TLC and HPLC-MS. Scientific Reports, Nature, 7, Article number: 1291, 2017.

Abstract: Many herbal products have a long history of use, but there are increasing concerns over product efficacy, safety and quality in the wake of recent cases exposing discrepancies between labeling and constituents. When it comes to St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) herbal products, there is limited oversight, frequent off-label use and insufficient monitoring of adverse drug reactions. In this study, we use amplicon metabarcoding (AMB) to authenticate 78 H. perforatum herbal products and evaluate its ability to detect substitution compared to standard methods using thin-layer chromatography (TLC) and high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS). Hypericum perforatum was detected in 68% of the products using AMB. Furthermore, AMB detected incongruence between constituent species and those listed on the label in all products. Neither TLC nor HPLC-MS could be used to unambiguously identify H. perforatum. They are accurate methods for authenticating presence of the target compounds, but have limited efficiency in detecting infrageneric substitution and do not yield any information on other plant ingredients in the products. Random post-marketing AMB of herbal products by regulatory agencies could raise awareness among consumers of substitution and would provide an incentive to manufacturers to increase quality control from raw ingredients to commercialized products.

Keywords: authentication, herbal products, amplicon metabarcoding, Hypericum perforatum


Posted by Ancuta Cristina Raclariu


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