Assessment of adulteration in raw herbal trade of important medicinal plants of India using DNA barcoding
- 3 Downloads
A number of studies have shown that there could be widespread substitution and/or adulteration (hereafter referred to as substitution) in raw herbal trade of medicinal plants. Substitution could potentially endanger the health and safety of the consumers. In this study, the extent of adulteration in raw herbal trade of 30 important medicinal plants in South India was analyzed. Biological reference material (BRM) consisting of taxonomically authenticated samples of each of the 30 species along with 14 other co-occurring and congeneric allied species that are likely to be used in adulteration was established. DNA barcode signatures of 124 BRM using two candidate regions, nr-ITS and psbA-trnH were identified. A total of 203 herbal trade samples representing the 30 medicinal plant species were collected from 34 locations in South India. Using the DNA barcode sequences of the BRM as reference, the analysis indicated that the substitution ranged from 20 to 100%. Overall, approximately 12% of the market samples were adulterated. Considering the potential health hazard that such adulteration can cause, the need for a national regulatory framework that can authenticate and regulate raw herbal trade in the country is discussed.
KeywordsDNA barcoding Biological reference material Raw herbal drugs Substitution
This work was supported by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (Grant number: No.BT/IN/ISTP-EOI/2011). We thank Dr. Senthilkumar and Dr. Srikanth Gunaga for the taxonomic identification of the plant samples.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
- Doyle JJ, Doyle JL (1987) A rapid DNA isolation procedure for small quantities of fresh leaf tissue. Phytochem Bull 19:11–15Google Scholar
- Kareem AM (1997) Plants in ayurveda (A compendium of botanical and Sanskrit names). Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Tradition, BangaloreGoogle Scholar
- Santhosh Kumar JU, Gogna Navdeep, Newmaster Steven G, Krishna V, Ragupathy S, Seethapathy GS, Ravikanth G, Dorai Kavita, Uma Shaanker R (2016) DNA barcoding and NMR spectroscopy based assessment of species adulteration in the raw herbal trade of Saraca asoca (Roxb.) Willd, an important medicinal plant. Int J Legal Med 130:1457–1470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Seethapathy GS, Ganesh D, Santhosh Kumar JU, Senthilkumar U, Newmaster SG, Ragupathy S, Uma Shaanker R, Ravikanth G (2014) Assessing product adulteration in natural health products for laxative yielding plants, Cassia, Senna, and Chamaecrista, in Southern India using DNA barcoding. Int J Legal Med 129:693–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sharma PV (1987) Dravyaguna-vijnana, vol 2. Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi (in Hindi) Google Scholar
- Valiathan MS (2006) Ayurveda: putting the house in order. Curr Sci 90:1Google Scholar
- Ved DK, Goraya GS (2007) Demand and supply of medicinal plants in India. NMPB, New Delhi, p 18Google Scholar
- White TJ, Bruns T, Lee SJWT, Taylor JW (1990) Amplification and direct sequencing of fungal ribosomal RNA genes for phylogenetics. PCR Protoc 18:315–322Google Scholar