The two methods make use of microscopic and high-performance thin layer chromatographic (HPTLC) techniques, while a high-performance liquid chromatographic method is also under development and will be released in the future. AHPA says this initiative is part of its ongoing efforts to provide practical tools for the dietary supplements industry to self-regulate. Adulterated versions of relatively expensive ingredients such as hoodia gordonii have seeped into the market. The plant grows wild in the area stretching from the Ceres-Karoo, through the Northern Cape, to the Kalahari, has been consumed by the bushmen for thousands of years to suppress appetite on hunting trips. Research into its appetite suppressing properties and the isolation of the active ingredient P57, (which has been patented and is under license to Unilever) has spawned immense interest in the plant in the West. As appetite management gains credence as an approach to weight management, demand has exceeded supply. The export of genuine South African hoodia is strictly controlled, and it comes accompanied with paperwork certifying its provenance. "Producing quality herbal products is a challenging task that is guided by good manufacturing practices set by federal regulators, knowledgeable analytical laboratories, and individual companies' in-house standards," said AHPA's vice president of scientific and technical affairs, Steven Dentali. Microscopy can reveal a material's cell components as well as structures present that should not occur in the material. HPTLC provides a characteristic visual display of compounds present in test materials. "These techniques are complementary tools," said Dentali. "As such, they should be jointly deployed in order to help determine the identity and purity of tested material." The project was initiated through solicitation of proposals evaluated by an independent expert scientific review panel and supported by AHPA member companies, Alkemists Pharmaceuticals and CAMAG Scientific. CITES certificates are available for identifying hoodia gordonii as authentic. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species is an agreement between 169 governments who aim to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.