PolyU Develops Rapid Authentication Method of Chinese Medicines

PolyU’s research team led by Dr Yao Zhongping has developed a new method for rapid authentication of Chinese herbal medicines, including Lingzhi and Tianma.

The new method is quick and simple, which takes around 10 minutes to analyse one raw sample, achieving various ends including authentication of genuine and counterfeit species, classification of wild types and cultivated types, as well as differentiation of geographical origins.

The Food Safety and Technology Research Centre under the Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has developed a new method for rapid authentication of Chinese herbal medicines, including Ganoderma (known as Lingzhi in Chinese), and Gastrodiae Rhizoma (known as Tianma in Chinese). The new method is quick and simple, which takes around 10 minutes to analyse one raw sample, achieving various ends including authentication of genuine and counterfeit species, classification of wild types and cultivated types, as well as differentiation of geographical origins. This method can be further applied to other herbal medicines.

Lingzhi and Tianma are two of the most popular and valuable Chinese medicines. Due to their high commercial values, problem of counterfeiting, adulterating and confusing Lingzhi and Tianma species is not uncommon in the market. Conventionally, fingerprint chromatography is adopted to authenticate and differentiate the species as it can provide comprehensive chemical composition of a sample. However, it is a labor-intensive and time-consuming method as it takes several hours to undergo the sample preparation and separation process for one sample.

Recently, the PolyU research team adopts the direct ionization mass spectrometry (DI-MS) method to detect the major active components of Lingzhi (ganoderic acids) and Tianma (gastrodin, parishin B/parishin C/and parishin). By directly applying a high voltage on a small piece of raw sample with its surface loaded with solvents, spray ionization could be induced at the tip of the sample to generate corresponding mass spectra within minutes, as if they are fingerprints which helps identification. The presence of major active components in the DI-MS spectra authenticates…

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