Houston, Texas, September 15, 2000 - Manufacturers generally agree that testing nutraceutical ingredients for quality and purity is vital. However, some balk at the time-consuming process involving "wet chemistry."
Fortunately, an easier, more efficient method is now available, said Michael Yatcilla, Ph.D., in a presentation today to the International Conference and Exhibit on Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods. As Cyvex Nutrition's director of science and technology, Dr. Yatcilla tests a wide range of ingredients including: herbs, plant extracts such as grape seed, and animal-derived products such as chondroitin sulfate using a novel, rapid information-rich methodology.
"All these products have different chemical characteristics, and we needed a single robust method to analyze and gain good quality control information," Dr. Yatcilla explained to the group of public and private-sector scientists at the conference. "Fortunately, we found this with our FT-NIR (Fourier Transform Near Infrared) method, which is fast and completely noninvasive. Using the wet chemistry method can take two hours to do one sample. Using the FT-NIR method, one can test 100 samples in that same period of time.
"So, if you receive, say, 100 drums of material from the factory, you can open boxes, take the lids off, and for about 2 hours, you can test the contents of every single drum and know their identity and purity," continued Dr. Yatcilla. "Not only can you tell how good the batch or lot is, but you can also tell if there are any bad drums or any problems at any point in the process without ever exposing the contents to the atmosphere."
Cyvex uses the FT-NIR instrument in its Irvine, CA, research laboratory to facilitate the company's NutriPrint™ quality assurance system, expected to become the standard in the nutraceutical industry. The process involves conducting purity and identity tests on every batch of material, each time producing a unique chemical "fingerprint." The sample's "fingerprint" is compared to a reference library. "Our extensive library of thousands of samples permits us to rigorously determine realistic tolerance limits for variations inherent in natural products," explained Dr. Yatcilla. Such variations are especially important in chondroitin sulfate, which United States Pharmacopeia (USP) guidelines require to be 90% to 105% pure on a dry basis. "Cyvex's chondroitin sulfate has consistently high quality standards as a result of this testing," he said. "This is not always the case with chondroitin sulfate products, as we have found by evaluating many samples in our lab."
Dr. Yatcilla added that Cyvex's FT-NIR testing is validated by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) at independent laboratories. The FT-NIR equipment used by Cyvex is manufactured by Bran+Luebbe of Buffalo Grove, IL.