Publications serve as the concrete art form for the scientist. It is his modus operandi. Authorship is akin to success and achievement. It cannot and should not deteriorate into a bargaining tool or commodity. Dardik
Sandasi, M., Vermaak, I., Chen, W., Viljoen, A.M. 2016. The application of vibrational spectroscopy techniques in the qualitative assessment of material traded as Ginseng. Molecules [in press]
The name ‘ginseng’ is collectively used to describe several plant species, including Panax ginseng(Asian/Oriental ginseng), P. quinquefolius(American ginseng), P. pseudoginseng(Pseudoginseng) and Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng), each with different applications in traditional medicine practices. The use of a generic name may lead to the interchangeable use or substitution of raw materials which poses quality control challenges. Quality control methods such as vibrational spectroscopy-based techniques are here proposed as fast, non-destructive methods for the distinction of four ginseng species and the identification of raw materials in commercial ginseng products. Certified ginseng reference material and commercial products were analysed using hyperspectral imaging (HSI), mid-infrared (MIR) and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy. Principal component analysis (PCA) and (orthogonal) partial least squares discriminant analysis models (OPLS-DA) were developed using multivariate analysis software. UHPLC-MS was used to analyse methanol extracts of the reference raw materials and commercial products. The holistic analysis of ginseng raw materials revealed distinct chemical differences using HSI, MIR and NIR. For all methods,Eleutherococcus senticosus displayed the greatest variation from the threePanax species that displayed closer chemical similarity. Good discrimination models with high R2X and Q2 cum vales were developed. These models predicted that the majority of products contained either P. ginseng or P. quinquefolius. Vibrational spectroscopy and HSI techniques in tandem with multivariate data analysis tools provide useful alternative methods in the authentication of ginseng raw materials and commercial products in a fast, easy, cost-effective and non-destructive manner.