The partnership brings together industry and academia expertise in pushing technology used in the DNA-based identification of plant-based ingredients.
DNA authentication signals much potential for botanical testing, proving highly reliable when performed on suitable material.
Botanical extracts have proved tricky to work with in the past, as some extracts can contain low-quality DNA that have degraded and are thus rendered useless.
Other drawbacks to DNA technology include its inability to determine between the plant’s leaf, stem, and root. DNA testing is also not totally quantitative.
“Indena is always seeking excellence and innovation starting with integrating DNA sequencing into its Quality Systems in 2011,” said Daniele Giavini, Indena’s managing director.
“Today I am proud to announce that an exclusive partnership has been established with the scope of setting once again an industry standard in the botanical authentication field.”
Standard Plant Reference Material
Milan-based Indena will provide a Standard Plant Reference Material resource that includes the preparation of herbarium vouchers with information from the Indena supply chain.
In addition, the firm will provide professional taxonomic IDs and genome scans (DNA sequences) for multiple populations to identify unique nucleotide signatures.
Further contributions include a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) system for a chemical fingerprint and image scanning capabilities for samples as well as a bioinformatics database archive with on-line access.
In May of this year, the firm collaborated with Hyris to develop the genomic identification of botanical species, based on sets of reagents for specific DNA sequences (bKITs) and the use of bCUBE miniaturised, portable technology.
These devices also form the platform that Hyris will contribute offering full genetic analysis of biological samples in any kind of setting.
The platform consists of hardware, software and reagents that can be used as a portable testing laboratory to provide the necessary results, reducing the time and costs associated with traditional methods.
Additionally, it can be controlled by bAPP, a mobile app that provides an intuitive, user-friendly interface.
‘Streamlining the supply chain’
“Hyris is honoured to join this team as a key technology provider,” said Hyris CEO, Stefano Lo Priore.
“We look forward supporting the botanicals industry worldwide and help streamline DNA based quality control systems throughout the supply chain.”
The remaining member of the partnership, the NHP Research Alliance, is an intuitive launched by the University of Guelph that looks into DNA-based identification.
Its third-party verification program TRU-ID was established in 2013, to support businesses seeking authentic ingredients.
The suite of DNA-based tools and services work to identify species adulteration of food and natural health products, by performing a series of tests early in the product supply chain providing confirmation of the authenticity of purchased supplies.
According to Dr Steven Newmaster, professor, botanical director at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph, the development of molecular diagnostic biotechnology (bCUBE & Probes/Kits) will “eventually transform the NHP Industry in a new gold standard for botanical species authentication; affordable testing on-site that is validated by a third party TRU-ID.”