Exploring DNA quantity and quality from raw materials to botanical extracts
Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the variability in DNA quality and quantity along a gradient of industrial processing of botanical ingredients from raw materials to extracts.
Methods: A data matrix was assembled for 1242 botanical ingredient samples along a gradient of industrial processing commonly used in the Natural Health Product (NHP) industry. Multivariate statistics was used to explore dependant variables for quality and quantity. The success of attaining a positive DNA test result along a gradient of industrial processing was compared among four biotechnologies: DNA barcoding, NGS, Sanger sequencing and qPCR.
Results: There was considerable variance in DNA quality and quantity among the samples, which could be interpreted along a gradient from raw materials with greater quantities (50–120 ng/μL) of DNA and longer DNA (400-500bp) sequences to extracts, which were characterized by lower quantities (0.1–10.0 ng/μL) and short
Conclusions: Targeted molecular diagnostic tests for species identity can be used in the NHP industry for raw and processed samples. Non-targeted tests or the use of NGS for any identity test needs considerable research and development and must be validated before it can be used in commercial operations as these methods are subject to considerable risk of false negative and positive results. Proper use of these tools can be used to ensure ingredient authenticity, and to avert adulteration, and contamination with plants that are a health concern. Lastly these tools can be used to prevent the exploitation of rare herbal species and the harvesting of native biodiversity for commercial purposes.