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DNA-based tests for commercial medicinal plant authentication


"The unambiguous identification of plant raw material is a crucial step in the quality control of medicinal plants in order to guarantee the identity and a constant and reliable quality of the starting material. Apart from the classical pharmacognostic methods, phytochemical methods (often based on chromatography) are used for this purpose. However, these methods often fail to provide secure results, especially when only single plant parts are available, and therefore, there is a need for novel and more reliable methods. DNA-based identification methods are becoming increasingly relevant in this respect and have much potential to be powerful additions to the classical techniques.
Using the medicinal plant Rhodiola rosea as an example, this project has the following objectives:
a. To develop a sensitive, quantitative DNA-based test to distinguish Rhodiola rosea plant material from related plant species, and to detect low level contamination by these potential adulterants
b. To introduce the DNA test for Rhodiola authentication into the QC procedures of the commercial partner
c. To develop phytochemical and pharmacognostic methods to detect low level contamination of Rhodiola rosea plant material by potential adulterant plant species
d. To determine the feasibility of incorporating DNA-based tests for a range of plants into the industrial partner’s quality control procedures.
e. To identify the most appropriate strategy and technology platform for DNA-based tests for recommendation as an industry standard for regulation and quality assurance.
These objectives will be acheived by a synergistic partnership between a university molecular biologicial research group and a phytopharmaceutical company, designed to fully exploit the opportunities for secondment and training provided by this scheme."

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

MC-IAPP - Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP)


The Gateway
LE1 9BH Leicester
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 238 119
Administrative Contact
Adrian Slater (Prof.)

Participants (1)

EU contribution
€ 211 272
Willmar Schwabe Strasse 4
76227 Karlsruhe
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Egon Koch (Dr.)