AuthenTechnologies has previously offered the technique only as a premium service (“Multiple IDNA”), but has decided to transition the technology to all standard testing services to raise the bar in the quality of routine botanical ingredient and product authentication, said the company.
Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA in 2013, Dr Danica Reynaud, CSO of Richmond, CA-based AuthenTechnologies, predicted the next 2-3 years would see a ‘huge shift’ towards DNA testing, but the shift has accelerated since the New York Attorney General’s investigation into herbal supplements was launched at the start of February, she told NutraIngredients-USA this week.
“That was a bell we cannot un-ring,” Dr Reynaud said of the NY AG’s investigation. “There is much more demand for our services now and we’re expanding quite rapidly. The new technology also allows us to scale up much quicker and we can run hundreds of samples at one time.”
AuthenTechnologies’ NGS also addresses previous criticisms of DNA barcoding being unsuitable for botanical extracts.
“NGS basically allows an in-depth analysis of what is in the sample,” explained Dr Reynaud. “DNA barcoding looks for one sequence and if there’s anything else in there then it gets lost because you’re getting the dominant signal. With natural products there are lots of other things in there, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
“But for NGS, the sky is the limit – we can identify all components in a sample – even in botanical extracts,” she said.
“The sequencing is getting faster and faster and NGS has really taken off, allowing us to do it at the same affordable cost and with a rapid turnaround time,” she added.
“We’ve been offering NGS as a premium service for the last five years but we’ve now decided to move it to part of the standard testing more as a benefit to the industry and to encourage the industry to make it a normal part of the testing.”
Fillers, allergens, and adulterants
In addition to routine species authentication testing for raw and processed products – from oils to extracts – AuthenTechnologies also offers a ‘Clean Screen’ test, which can detect the presence of 11 common plant fillers and allergens down.
NGS can also detect even the most unexpected adulterants and fillers, she said, from tumbleweed in alfalfa to cat ginseng in Asian ginseng.