DNA barcoding, pioneering complete authenticity

Indena has been mapping the genetic identity of the raw materials used for its botanical extracts

Indena Dna barcoding


Did you know that up to 30% of ingredients derived from plants and sold
for human consumption are not what the label declares?

In fact, while we know a great deal about animals and their DNA, the same cannot be said for plants. Our knowledge about animals and, in particular, about their DNA is relatively deep, while authentication of herbs and botanicals is more complex and requires the expertise of different scientific areas: botany, biology and chemistry.

As a matter of fact for plants there is no universal DNA barcoding methodology and the choice of a particular technique is often a compromise that depends on a number of factors. Each plant needs a dedicated method, developed on its own genome. DNA sequencing-based tests are emerging as highly reliable and powerful tools to authenticate botanicals, to identify the species and varieties of medicinal plants. They can even be used to identify new species and to create herbal products. They also play an important role inside the dietary supplement industry, since adulteration is a serious concern.

Although DNA-based identification technologies are contributing decisively to the authentication of botanicals, they are not the reference methods: they complement the botanical, chemotaxonomic and metabolomic analytical methods well.

Accordingly, they have to be part of a complete quality texting toolbox, which constitutes a reliable authentication platform. Throughout its history of almost one hundred years,

Indena has been mapping the genetic identity of the raw materials used for its botanical extracts. As no universal Genomic ID method is available, this knowledge has allowed Indena to develop species-specific DNA identification analytical tools. As part of its Quality System, Indena is able to apply the appropriate technology to each case. Sophisticated DNA sequencing-based tests are powerful technologies but they are just one piece of the puzzle: what really counts is gaining knowledge in plant genetic diversity. This knowledge is part of Indena’s very own DNA.