Pyrrolizidine alkaloids and DNA
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids pose problems when used in food products.
EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes) are publishing articles to inform consumers1,2,3.
The consumption of pyrrolizidine alkaloids can, in the long term, be dangerous for health, toxic and cancer causing1. EFSA sets a limit of 15 µg/kg of body weight and per day2. Honey, tea, herbal teas and food supplements are the products most at risk. However, for honey, observed quantities depend very much on the diversity of the flora gathered by bees4.
Molecules of pyrrolizidine alkaloids are generally generated by weeds which are collected together with the plants of interest. It is therefore very difficult to prevent contamination.
Today we recognize more than 6000 species of plants producing these alkaloids4, grouped into 5 botanical families : Boraginaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae,Orchidaceae and Apocynaceae2. Three genera are particularly implicated : the genus Senecio, the genus Eupatorium or the genus Echium1.
Thanks to the power of genetic analyses, these genera can be identified in one sample. An analysis of plant composition enables the detection of all families, genera or vegetal species contained in one sample. DNA Gensee can help you to detect the presence ot these botanic genera in your raw materials.
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