Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, April 2018

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NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK ■ 51 APRIL 2018 validated DNA reference sequences to ac- curately identify raw botanical ingredients. "T is protocol provides a succinct work- f ow and testing scheme to verify raw ma- terial inputs into the supply chain," Miller says. "In addition to DNA authentication of the target species, the testing program also screens for contamination, including common adulterants, toxic adulterants, al- lergens, and f llers." Verif cation within the program requires NGS DNA testing of every lot or batch bearing the protocol's certif ca- tion mark. Suppliers can then provide cer- tif cates and use the certif cation mark on ingredient shipments. Indena recently signed a strategic coop- eration agreement with London-based bio- tech company Hyris Ltd. and NHP Research Alliance, based at the University of Guelph, for joint development of DNA authentication test kits for botanicals and related natural health products. T e three parties will hold exclusive technological and scientif c assets together "to build a reliable third-party veri- f cation program that will benef t the natural health products industry," Palumbo says. And Unigen is partnering with China's Institute of Chinese Materia Medica to com- plete the DNA barcoding of botanicals and marines in the company's proprietary Phy- ologix plant collection. Unigen says it will supply samples from up to 8,000 plant spe- cies, and the Institute will barcode two DNA regions: ITS2 and trnH- psbA. Because the company's collection includes botanical tax- onomy, it allows for identif cation not only via DNA sequence comparison, but through traditional botanical micro- and macroscop- ic exams, as well. "Completion of the project will complement one of the most extensive global DNA barcoding databases for herbal identif cation," Jia says, adding that the com- pany will continue to work with the Institute to evaluate select botanical extracts under dif erent conditions to understand the cor- relation between extraction conditions and integrity preservation of the relevant DNA specimens for barcoding. As Jia says, "T ere is no single 'magic bullet' that applies to dif erent types of plant-based ingredients and products for identif cation purposes. Good science will be critical in developing, evaluating, and validating a testing method for its intended use." But DNA barcoding has real potential, and Jia predicts its acceptance and use will grow thanks to "signif cant accumulation of DNA sequence data from plants, reductions in equipment costs, and improvements in DNA amplif cation and sequencing, as well as an increase in the awareness and use of DNA barcoding by industry." T at's a happy ending to a trying episode that we can all support. Kimberly J. Decker writes for the food and nutrition industries from her base in the San Francisco area, where she enjoys eating food as much as she does writing about it.

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