Vaccinium: botanical description and use
Today, many plant species are used in the cosmetic and nutraceutical sectors. This is the case of species of Vaccinium genus. This plant genus includes 466 species (reference of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) spread throughout the northern hemisphere, with strong production in North America (from Alaska to Florida) and Europe. For nearly 1000 years, Vaccinium genus species have been used for their medicinal properties. The active molecules are mainly present in berries. They are used to digestive, circulatory and diabetes problems, but also for their antioxidant properties (Ulbricht et al., 2009) among others.
In recent years, with the growth of phytotherapy and the nutraceutical market, the use of raw materials based on Vaccinium species has very increased. This has led to an increase in prices and unfortunately an increase of fraud. For example, cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon), native to North America, are often mixed with wild cranberries (Vaccinium oxycoccos), which are different in size and composition in molecules of interest.
The techniques of DNA Gensee: DNA analyzed by barcoding and metabarcoding
In order to answer these problems of confusion or mixing of species and to guarantee consumers transparency on the composition of the products they consume, DNA Gensee has developed a specific service using barcoding and metabarcoding technologies for the authentication and traceability of plant species. Barcoding is a technique which, from long genetic markers, allows the identification of plant raw materials, thanks to the Sanger sequencing method. Metabarcoding, complementary to barcoding, is used with short markers on lower quality DNA that can be degraded. The new generation sequencing method (NGS) is then used to trace raw materials in processed products and to identify any adulterations/contaminations that may be present.
With our specific markers, we have analyzed raw materials and products based on species of the genus vaccinium. The results shown in the figure showed species assignments for both analyses.
The molecular biology techniques used by DNA Gensee allow accurate identification and secure authentication of raw materials based on species of the genus vaccinium and their traceability in finished products. These two techniques make it possible to secure supplies and to provide traceability elements that are today indispensable and highly demanded by consumers.
C. Ulbricht, E. Basch, S. Basch, S. Bent, H. Boon, D. Burke, D. Costa, C. Falkson, N. Giese, M. Goble, S. Hashmi, S. Mukarjee, G. Papaliodis, E. Seamon, S. Tanguay-Colucci, W. Weissner, J. Woods (2009) An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration, Journal of Dietary Supplements, 6:2, 162-200