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Analytical Methods to Demonstrate Positive (Healthy/Antioxidant) Properties of Botanical Products

Introduction

Natural antioxidants, in botanical products (like fruits and vegetables), have gained increasing interest because epidemiological studies have indicated that frequent consumption of natural antioxidants is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer[1]. The defensive effects of natural antioxidants are related to three major groups: vitamins, (poly)phenols, and carotenoids. Vitamins like ascorbic acid and phenolics are known as hydrophilic antioxidants, while carotenoids are known as lipophilic antioxidants.

Phenolic compounds are a group of metabolites derived from the secondary pathways of plants. Within this group, we find flavonoids, phenolic acids, tannins, lignans, and coumarins as well as compounds naturally found in fruits, vegetables, cereals, roots, and leaves of many other plant products.

This extensive group of flavonoids and related substances are associated with various health benefits such as:[2]

  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombogenic, antidiabetic, and neuroprotective activity
  • Increased metabolic and cardiovascular health
  • Long-term reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Improved glycemic control with type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Cancer prevention
  • Antimicrobial properties

For a better characterization of the potential health benefits of your product, we developed a competitive screening package that enables you to better understand your product from an analytical perspective.

 

Analysis

Here is a detailed summary of potential analyses that can be performed for your product.

 

Total Antioxidant Concentration

This test called “Ferric ion reducing antioxidant power”[3] or “FRAP” and is commonly used to measure the total antioxidant capacity of foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements containing polyphenols. This test is nonspecific, so any substance with an antioxidant function will contribute to the result.

The result will be expressed in “TROLOX” units which is an antioxidant substance itself and used as a benchmark for the antioxidant capacity.

 

Flavonoid Analysis

Over 5,000 naturally occurring flavonoids have been characterized from various plants. Additionally, there are common flavonoids that are characterized and commercially available. This enables accurate quantification and comparison of products as well as a reference for certain properties of these chemically defined substances.

 

Minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC)

This microbiological test shows the lowest concentration of the product required to prevent visible growth of a microorganism.

You can choose the microorganism(s) used for testing.

The result will be the lowest concentration of product that prevents growths of the chosen microorganism. At any lower concentration the microorganism will still grow, at any higher concentration, the number of microorganism will stay constant (or will be reduced, see MBC).

 

Minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC)

This microbiological test shows the lowest concentration of the product required to kill a particular microorganism.

You can choose the microorganism(s) used for testing.

The result will be the lowest concentration of product that will kill the picked microorganism. At any lower concentration the microorganism will stay constant and will be not reduced.

 

Time Kill Study

This microbiological test shows antimicrobial activity of your product over time. It is useful to check if there is any bactericidal activity of your product at the target concentration before these properties are analyzed at different time points.

You can choose the microorganism(s) and time points for testing (both are usually linked to a typical application, e.g. for a skin product typically Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are used at time points of 6, 12, and 24 hours to show typical reduction of microorganism during 24 h usage time).

 

Product Specific Substances

For some products, there might be a unique substance described in scientific literature that is linked to certain positive effects (e.g. DHA and MGO in Manuka honey). Specific methods can be used to analyze the presence and concentration of these substances.

We can make a literature search to see if there are any specific substances with positive health effects described in the scientific literature. Most probable we will be able to show that these substances are also present in your product and (if reference material is available) we can quantify the concentration.

 

References

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[1] Renaud et al., 1998; Temple,2000).

[2] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/flavonoids

[3] Benzie, Iris F.F.; Strain, J.J. (1996). “The Ferric Reducing Ability of Plasma (FRAP) as a Measure of “Antioxidant Power”: The FRAP Assay”. Analytical Biochemistry239 (1): 70–6

Source: https://www.adamsonlab.com/analytical-methods-to-demonstrate-positive-healthy-antioxidant-properties-of-botanical-products/

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