Alkemist Labs will begin offering next generation DNA sequencing to clients early next year.
“Adding DNA analysis to our testing capabilities once the technology evolved more has been in the plans since my father and I started building our herbarium almost 20 years ago,” said Elan Sudberg, CEO of Alkemist Labs. “Our clients want us to offer this service and with recent events, as well as advancement in technology, we felt it finally the right time to bring it in-house.”
This is a very new technology as applied to botanical identity in industry, and fit-for-purpose methods still need to be developed. The scientists at Alkemist believe that needs to be done collaboratively and transparently, and intend to encourage trade associations and other companies in the industry to join forces in developing the ground work required to make NGS a useful tool rather than a source of confusion.
“We look forward to launching this new testing platform to add additional data points and increase confidence in the realm of botanical identity,” said Holly Johnson, PhD, Alkemist Labs director. “It is in everyone’s best interest for industry stakeholders and technical experts to work in collaboration on developing a database of verified sequences from authenticated specimens, and also in building consensus with appropriate standardized methods and validating procedures with full transparency in testing.”
“NGS equipment is the newest and most powerful tool available for speciation in plant based products; it goes deeper than anything else,” Sudberg said. “However, that depth can reveal nearly anything that was gathered with the herb in inconsequential quantities, such as pine pollen, for example, and an occasional piece of grass from the field. We plan to work with the industry to help establish how much ‘pine pollen’ constitutes contamination rather than just a negligible component of a natural product to be expected and accepted. The events of this year have made it clear that we, as an industry, must make absolutely certain our product contents match our product labels and this technology, when used correctly and appropriately, may help us ensure that. ”