Identifying the Species of Seeds in Traditional Chinese Medicine Using DNA Barcoding.
ABSTRACT: Seed is not only the main reproductive organ of most of herbal plants but also an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Seed TCMs possess important medicinal properties and have been widely used as components of pharmaceutical products. In parallel with the increasing popularity and accessibility of seeds as medicinal products in recent years, numerous substitutes and adulterants have also appeared on the market. Due to the small volume and similar appearances of many seed TCMs, they are very difficult to accurately identify the constituent plant species through organoleptic methods. Usage of the wrong herb may be ineffective or may worsen the condition and even cause death. Correct identification of seed herbal medicines is therefore essential for their safe use. Here, we acquired 177 ITS2 sequences and 15 psbA-trnH sequences from 51 kinds of seed TCMs belonging to 64 species that have been described in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. Tree-building analysis showed that the ITS2 sequences of 48 seed TCMs can be differentiated from each other, and they formed distinct, non-overlapping groups in the maximum-likelihood tree. Furthermore, all of the sequences acquired in this study have been submitted to the public DNA barcoding system for herbal medicine, and this integrated database was used to identify 400 seed TCM samples purchased from medicinal markets, drug stores, and the Internet, enabling the identification of 7.5% of the samples as containing non-declared species. This study provides a brief operating procedure for the identification of seed TCMs found in herbal medicine. In the future, researchers and traditional herbal medicine enterprises can use this system to test their herbal materials.
Project description:Cynanchum is a large genus with some important medicinal species in China. The medicinal species in Cynanchum are easily confused, leading to potential safety risks. In this study, the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) barcode was used to discriminate the medicinal plants in Cynanchum. The identifying capability of ITS2 was assessed using the specific genetic divergence, BLAST1, neighbor-joining (NJ) tree, maximum-likelihood (ML) tree, and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) methods. Results indicated that the intra-specific genetic divergences of Cynanchum species were lower than their inter-specific genetic divergences. Of the 87 samples from 17 species, ITS2 showed a high identification efficiency of 90.8 and 87.4% at the species level through BLAST1 and the nearest distance methods. NJ tree and ML tree also demonstrated the suitability of ITS2 to differentiate Cynanchum species. Meanwhile, a stable SNP was found, and it could accurately authenticate Cynanchum paniculatum and Cynanchum atratum. Furthermore, we collected 64 commercial samples from three commonly used herbal medicines and evaluated the capability of ITS2 to survey their authentication. Of these samples, Cynanchi Atrati Radix et Rhizoma (Baiwei) showed a potential safety problem, and all the 11 test samples were adulterants. In conclusion, ITS2 can distinguish medicinal species in Cynanchum effectively, and its application could greatly improve the identification efficiency and accuracy of commercial herbal medicines in this genus.
Project description:Adulterant herbal materials are a threat to consumer safety. In this study, we used DNA barcoding to investigate the proportions and varieties of adulterant species in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) markets. We used a DNA barcode database of TCM (TCMD) that was established by our group to investigate 1436 samples representing 295 medicinal species from 7 primary TCM markets in China. The results indicate that ITS2 barcodes could be generated for most of the samples (87.7%) using a standard protocol. Of the 1260 samples, approximately 4.2% were identified as adulterants. The adulterant focused on medicinal species such as Ginseng Radix et Rhizoma (Renshen), Radix Rubi Parvifolii (Maomeigen), Dalbergiae odoriferae Lignum (Jiangxiang), Acori Tatarinowii Rhizoma (Shichangpu), Inulae Flos (Xuanfuhua), Lonicerae Japonicae Flos (Jinyinhua), Acanthopanacis Cortex (Wujiapi) and Bupleuri Radix (Chaihu). The survey revealed that adulterant species are present in the Chinese market, and these adulterants pose a risk to consumer health. Thus, regulatory measures should be adopted immediately. We suggest that a traceable platform based on DNA barcode sequences be established for TCM market supervision.
Project description:Herbal material is both a medicine and a commodity. Accurate identification of herbal materials is necessary to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medication. With this work, we initiated an identification method to investigate the species authenticity for herbal products of Celastrus orbiculatus and Tripterygum wilfordii utilizing DNA barcoding technology. An ITS2 (internal transcribed spacer two) barcode database including 59 sequences was successfully established to estimate the reliability of species-level identification for Celastrus and Tripterygium. Our findings showed that ITS2 can effectively and clearly distinguish C. orbiculatus, T. wilfordii and its congeners. Then, we investigated the proportions and varieties of adulterant species in the herbal markets. The data from ITS2 region indicated that 13 (62%) of the 21 samples labeled as “Nan-she-teng” and eight (31%) of the 26 samples labeled as “Lei-gong-teng” were authentic; the remaining were adulterants. Of the 47 herbal products, approximately 55% of the product identity were not in accordance with the label. In summary, we support the efficacy of the ITS2 barcode for the traceability of C. orbiculatus and T. wilfordii, and the present study provides one method and reference for the identification of the herbal materials and adulterants in the medicinal markets.
Project description:Boerhavia diffusa (B. diffusa), also known as Punarnava, is an indigenous plant in India and an important component in traditional Indian medicine. The accurate identification and collection of this medicinal herb is vital to enhance the drug's efficacy and biosafety. In this study, a DNA barcoding technique has been applied to identify and distinguish B. diffusa from its closely-related species. The phylogenetic analysis was carried out for the four species of Boerhavia using barcode candidates including nuclear ribosomal DNA regions ITS, ITS1, ITS2 and the chloroplast plastid gene psbA-trnH. Sequence alignment revealed 26% polymorphic sites in ITS, 30% in ITS1, 16% in ITS2 and 6% in psbA-trnH, respectively. Additionally, a phylogenetic tree was constructed for 15 species using ITS sequences which clearly distinguished B. diffusa from the other species. The ITS1 demonstrates a higher transition/transversion ratio, percentage of variation and pairwise distance which differentiate B. diffusa from other species of Boerhavia. Our study revealed that ITS and ITS1 could be used as potential candidate regions for identifying B. diffusa and for authenticating its herbal products.
Project description:Many members of the genus Artemisia are important for medicinal purposes with multiple pharmacological properties. Often, these herbal plants sold on the markets are in processed forms so it is difficult to authenticate. Routine testing and identification of these herbal materials should be performed to ensure that the raw materials used in pharmaceutical products are suitable for their intended use. In this study, five commonly used Artemisia species included Artemisia argyi, Artemisia annua, Artemisia lavandulaefolia, Artemisia indica, and Artemisia atrovirens were analyzed using high resolution melting (HRM) analysis based on the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) sequences. The melting profiles of the ITS2 amplicons of the five closely related herbal species are clearly separated so that they can be differentiated by HRM method. The method was further applied to authenticate commercial products in powdered. HRM curves of all the commercial samples tested are similar to the botanical species as labeled. These congeneric medicinal products were also clearly separated using the neighbor-joining (NJ) tree. Therefore, HRM method could provide an efficient and reliable authentication system to distinguish these commonly used Artemisia herbal products on the markets and offer a technical reference for medicines quality control in the drug supply chain.
Project description:The high demand of medicinal plants and their unrestricted collection have rendered many of these as rare or endangered. The restrictions imposed on their collection and trade are difficult to implement because of the inability to identify them in fragmented form. The rarity of these plants in nature and lack of their cultivation raise doubt about the authenticity of the herbals sold in markets. Therefore, in the present investigation, ITS/ITS2, matK, rbcL and rpoC1 sequences of fourteen species of important medicinal plants, some of which are endangered, were generated and checked for their species-specificity (sequences having maximum similarity only with their own) by BLAST1 and/or BOLD identifications. ITS sequences of 12 species were species-specific. However, ITS2 of only 10 of these 12 species were species-specific. As for the chloroplast loci, rbcL and rpoC1 sequences of all 14 species could be obtained, while matK sequences of only 10 of these could be generated. Of the retrieved sequences, rbcL, rpoC1 and matK sequences of 7, 11 and 7 species, respectively, were species-specific. The sequences of the targeted loci from the herbal samples of these species were difficult to retrieve because of failure in the amplification or sequencing. Nevertheless, based on ITS2 and/or one or more of the chloroplast loci targeted, the botanical identities of 22 herbal market samples were checked by phylogenetic tree, BLAST1 and BOLD identification methods. Of these 22 samples, only one of each of Rauvolfia serpentina and Picrorhiza kurroa were found to be authentic.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The radix of Glehnia littoralis Fr. Schmidt ex Miq. (Beishashen), is often misidentified and adultered in Chinese medicine. Its seven common adulterants include Chuanminshen violaceum Sheh et Shan (Chuanmingshen), Changium smyrnioides Wolff (Mingdangshen), Sphallerocarpus gracilis (Bess.) K.-Pol. (Miguoqin), Adenophora polyantha Nakai (Shishashen), Silene tatarinowii Regel (Shishengyingzicao), Adenophora tetraphylla (Thunb.) Fisch (Lunyeshashen) and Adenophora stricta Miq. (Shashen). This study aims to evaluate the feasibility of the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) DNA barcoding to discriminate between Glehniae Radix and its common adulterants. METHODS:In this study, we collected 46 samples of G. littoralis and 59 samples of its seven common adulterants. Genomic DNA sequences were extracted from samples, including original plants and commercially processed crude drugs. The ITS2 of the ribosomal DNA sequences were amplified and sequenced bi-directionally. The sequences were assembled by CodonCode Aligner 3.5.7. The descriptive data analysis was conducted and neighbor-joining (NJ) phylogenetic tree was constructed by MEGA 5.0 in accordance with the kimura 2 -parameter (K2P) model. The identification efficiency was evaluated based on the BLAST1 methods. The ITS2 secondary structures were predicted and compared between Glehniae Radix and its adulterants by the ITS2 database. RESULTS:As the 46 ITS2 sequences of G. littoralis were identical to each other, the identification efficiency of the ITS2 region was 100 %. A NJ tree based on the ITS2 sequences, and the predicted secondary structures of ITS2, distinguished Glehniae Radix from its adulterants. CONCLUSION:DNA barcoding based on ITS2 distinguished commercial processed Glehniae Radix from common herbal adulterants.
Project description:Traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) represent one form of complementary and alternative medicine. The popularity and complexity in production make them attractive and vulnerable to adulteration in stages ranging from planting to production. Adulteration refers to the addition of extraneous, improper, or inferior ingredients that should not be present in TCMs. To detect and combat adulterated TCMs, supplementary testing methods (STMs), which expand the capability of routine testing standards, have been applied in China since 2003. From 2003 to 2017, a total of 184 STMs for TCMs were approved by the Chinese national drug regulatory authority. By assessing these STMs, this research intends to identify those TCMs vulnerable to adulteration, to list common adulterants, and to characterize the techniques of analysis. The results show that adulteration of TCMs can be classified into three main categories: the addition of undeclared drugs/chemical substances, substitution with non-drug components, and the addition of foreign non-drug materials. The top five therapeutic areas of TCMs vulnerable to adulteration are diabetes, calm and sleep, sexual dysfunction, pain relief, and rheumatism. A total of 166 adulterants were detected in the adulterated TCM preparations and herbal products studied here, with 158 adulterants in TCM preparations and 43 in herbal products, with 35 adulterants in common. Each STM consists of different pharmaceutical analysis techniques, including tests for physical-chemical properties, chromatography, spectroscopic techniques, and mass spectrometry. The analytical methodology of STMs relies on the combination of these techniques, with HPLC ranking the highest percentage (76.1%) and physical-chemical techniques the lowest percentage (11.4%). This research shows that STMs have played a crucial role in combating adulterated TCMs. However, STMs represent merely a product testing-centered regulatory strategy. The inspection of cultivation and manufacturing processes should also be strengthened. More importantly, the awareness and self-discipline of TCM manufacturers in implementing good manufacturing practices and regulating the planting and cultivation of raw materials should be improved.
Project description:Pulsatillae radix is a conventional traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with common name Baitouweng, and has notable effects on inflammation and dysentery. Pulsatilla chinensis (Bge.) Regel is the only source plant of Baitouweng recorded in Chinese Pharmacopoeia, but its adulteration often occurs in the market that possibly affects medicinal efficacy and safety. We have established an internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) barcode library based on 105 plant samples from 12 Pulsatilla species and 10 common adulterants. Results indicate that ITS2 barcoding can accurately distinguish Pulsatilla species from their adulterants. Pulsatilla chinensis can be discriminated from 11 congeneric species by two stable single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ITS2 region. Additionally, a quick specific PCR-RFLP identification assay based on the ITS2 barcode was developed. Using specific primers ITS2/PR1 combined with restriction enzyme Bgl I, Pu. chinensis can rapidly be differentiated from other species via simple and low-cost test procedures. Furthermore, 30 commercial Baitouweng products were tested and only two products were derived from authentic Pu. chinensis. Thus, these two molecular approaches provide practical tools for quick identification of commercial Baitouweng products and can help ensure the safe use of this TCM product.
Project description:The medicinal plant Ferula has been widely used in Asian medicine, especially in Uyghur medicine in Xinjiang, China. Given that various substitutes and closely related species have similar morphological characteristics, Ferula is difficult to distinguish based on morphology alone, thereby causing confusion and threatening the safe use of Ferula. In this study, internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) sequences were analyzed and assessed for the accurate identification of two salable Ferula species (Ferula sinkiangensis and Ferula fukangensis) and eight substitutes or closely related species. Results showed that the sequence length of ITS2 ranged from 451?bp to 45?bp, whereas guanine and cytosine contents (GC) were from 53.6% to 56.2%. A total of 77 variation sites were detected, including 63 base mutations and 14 insertion/deletion mutations. The ITS2 sequence correctly identified 100% of the samples at the species level using the basic local alignment search tool 1 and nearest-distance method. Furthermore, neighbor-joining tree successfully identified the genuine plants F. sinkiangensis and F. fukangensis from their succedaneum and closely related species. These results indicated that ITS2 sequence could be used as a valuable barcode to distinguish Uyghur medicine Ferula from counterfeits and closely related species. This study may broaden DNA barcoding application in the Uyghur medicinal plant field.