New testing firm aims to evaluate ingredients on their biological activity, founder says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

New testing firm aims to evaluate ingredients on their biological activity, founder says
A new testing firm has debuted that the founder and CEO says will offer a way to judge ingredients based not just on their chemical profiles but on their actual biological activity.

The company, called DSTest Laboratories LLC​, was founded by Daniel Sliva, PhD and is based in the Purdue Research Park in Indianapolis, IN. Sliva is a molecular biologist who has done work on the biological activity of a variety of natural substances including the Reishi mushroom​.

“All my life in academia I was interested in natural products and dietary supplements,”​ Sliva told NutraIngredients-USA. “I want to evaluate these ingredients for their real biological activity.  I think it is necessary to clean up the field.”

Actual activity rarely assayed

Sliva said that all too often the current situation in dietary supplement formulation is this: The active substances listed on the labels might be in the bottle. (Or they might not; but that is a separate issue.) But just because something that looks like the right dog is present doesn’t mean it will hunt, Sliva said.

“What we intend to do is to evaluate ingredients for their real health effects. Usually what they are testing for in the market in the majority of cases is chemical composition, but that doesn’t necessarily show how the ingredient will perform. Not all curcuminoids are created equal, for example. The major point is to really show and certify the biological activity of the ingredients,”​ he said. 

Battery of assays

Sliva said the company will offer a variety of biological assays that he has developed over the years​.  This include in vitro assays that look for:

  • Anti-cancer activity in human cancer cells: cell proliferation/viability assays, colony formation assays, and cell migration/invasion assays.
  • Anti-oxidant stress activity (free-, hydroxyl-, superoxide-, hydrogen peroxide-radical scavenging activity, oxygen-radical absorbance capacity, reducing power, lipid peroxidation, and chelation assays).
  • Anti-microbial activity: minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assay for the determination of bacteriostatic activity.
  • Anti-inflammatory activity in human monocytes: inhibition of secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

And in vivo assays examining:

  • Anti-cancer activity: suppression of human cancers in mice.
  • Anti-inflammatory activity: inhibition of sepsis/colitis in mice.
  • Anti-oxidant activity in mice.   

“During my academic research I realized there should be a more formal way to look at dietary ingredients. From my work with the medicinal mushroom we were able to associate activity with certain chemical fingerprints,” ​Sliva said. “We were able to show on the molecular level how these dietary supplements work.”

Sliva said the new company will collaborate with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  The company plans to make its formal launch to the market at the upcoming Ingredient Marketplace trade show to be held in early April in Orlando, FL.

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