Navigation Links
Study: DNA barcoding can ID natural health products
Date:9/19/2012

DNA barcoding developed by University of Guelph researchers has proven up to 88 per cent effective in authenticating natural health products, according to a new U of G study.

The study appears in the latest issue of Food Research International.

It's a crucial finding because the health product industry is under-regulated worldwide and mislabelling poses economic, health, legal and environmental implications, says study author Mehrdad Hajibabaei.

"Currently there is no other broadly applicable tool that can identify the species used in both animal and plant natural health products as rapidly and cost-effectively," said Hajibabaei, a U of G integrative biology professor and director of technology development for the Guelph-based Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO).

Up to about 80 per cent of people in developed countries use natural health products, including vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies. In Canada, these products have been regulated since 2004. But regulators face a backlog of licence applications, and thousands of products on the market lack a full product licence. In the U.S. and the U.K., regulatory problems involving natural health products have affected consistency and safety.

Authenticating natural product capsules or tablets -- containing dried fragments rather than whole specimens -- poses challenges.

DNA barcoding allows scientists to use short standardized regions of genetic material to identify species and compare them to reference genetic sequences, said Hajibabaei.

The technique works for all life stages and even for fragments of organisms, allowing scientists to ID even dried contents of a small pill.

"DNA barcoding provides a simple and efficient method for accurate identification and can play a key role in developing a more robust protocol for their regulation," Hajibabaei said.

For the study, researchers tested 95 plant and animal products bought in Toronto and New York City. Samples included capsules, tablets, roots, extracts, teas and shredded products. The researchers also sampled for products containing widely used shark tissue or ginseng.

Fully 81 per cent of natural health products made from animals correctly matched their commercial label. The rest contained everything from cheaper alternatives to fragments of protected species. One product labelled as tiger shark fins actually contained a catfish species.

Several of the identified shark species are on the "red list" of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Half of the plant products labelled as Korean ginseng which is more expensive and is sold for different medicinal benefits than other types were really American ginseng.

Besides Hajibabaei, the study was headed by Lauren Wallace, a former President's Scholar at U of G and now a doctoral student at McMaster University. Wallace received a summer research fellowship from the Ontario Genomics Institute in 2010 to work on the BIO project.

Other researchers were Stephanie Boilard, now a technician in Hajibabaei's lab; graduate students Shannon Eagle and Jennifer Spall; and post-doc Shadi Shokralla.

Three of the researchers were using DNA barcoding for the first time. "Ultimately, the study showcases the utility of DNA barcodes for use in the real world," Hajibabaei said.


'/>"/>
Contact: Prof. Mehrdad Hajibabaei Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
mhajibab@uoguelph.ca
519-824-4120 x52487
University of Guelph
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Joint UT study: Reading food labels helps shoppers stay thinner
2. Study: How a high-fat diet and estrogen loss leads women to store more abdominal fat than men
3. New study: Running mechanics, not metabolism, are the key to performance for elite sprinters
4. New study: Raisins as effective as sports chews for fueling workouts
5. RIH study: Emergency patients prefer technology-based interventions for behavioral issues
6. Study: Wolverines need refrigerators
7. New study: Snacking on raisins significantly reduces overall post-meal blood sugar levels
8. Study: No-fat, low-fat dressings dont get most nutrients out of salads
9. Study: Seeping Arctic methane has serious implications for Florida coastline
10. Study: Seeking Arctic methane has serious implications for Florida coastline
11. Study: In-patient, out-patient stroke rehab might benefit from yoga
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: