New Lab Guidance for Grapefruit Seed Extract

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Austin, TX — The American Botanical Council (ABC), American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) have a partnership called the Botanical Adulterants Program as a way to spread knowledge among the herbal and dietary supplement industry about best practices regarding product adulteration. May 2017, the program released a Laboratory Guidance Document (LGD) dealing with grapefruit seed extract (GFSE).

Other documents published by the program on the adulteration of GFSE include a review of scientific research published in ABC’s HerbalGram, and a Botanical Adulterants Bulletin on evidence discussing concerns about of adulterating GFSE with synthetic antimicrobial compounds.

This new LGD reviews current laboratory analytical methods in identifying synthetic antimicrobial compounds. Dietary supplements containing GFSE are advertised to contain antimicrobial activity as a natural preservative. Using techniques such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultraviolet (HPLC-UV) or mass spectrometric (HPLC-MS) detection, thin-layer chromatography (TLC), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry identifies whether or not the antimicrobial activity is natural or synthetic.

The LGD was written by John Cardellina, Ph.D., chief technical consultant and associate editor of the Botanical Adulterants Program, for the benefit of lab technicians and industry professionals.

“The changing nature of the antimicrobial compounds used to adulterate various batches of GFSE complicates the selection of an appropriate analytical method. A non-targeted approach, which means the use of a method where the compounds to be analyzed are not known, is required for the detection of these adulterants. Due to their ability to identify the presence of synthetic microbicides at low concentrations, GC-MS and HPLC-MS are particularly well-suited to meet the challenge,” said ABC chief science officer Stefan Gafner, Ph.D in a press release.

“As we have noted previously, adulteration of grapefruit seed extract with synthetic industrial disinfectant chemicals is a particularly egregious practice,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, who is also the director of the Botanical Adulterants Program in a statement. “We believe that this should be the subject of appropriate regulatory action by the FDA.”

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