Botanical Transparency: How DNA Technology Can Complement Traditional Identity Tests

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There has been a great deal of focus on transparency both in finished products and raw materials at the worldwide level. This debate followed actions by the New York Attorney General’s, who after an agency investigation found four out of five tested herbal products did not contain any of the herbs promised in their labels, called for the producers to conduct advanced genetic testing.

These tests are intended to ensure the herbal products actually contain the ingredients promised on the label.

For plants, there is no universal DNA testing methodology and the choice of a particular technique is often a compromise that depends on a number of factors.

Each plant needs a dedicated method, developed on its own genome. DNA sequencing-based tests are emerging as highly reliable and powerful tools to authenticate botanicals to complement other available tests. They can even be used to identify new species and to create herbal products.

Accordingly, they have to be part of a complete quality testing toolbox, which constitutes a reliable authentication platform.

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