AHPA to Present Seminar on Microscopic Botanical Identification

The federal current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) regulation (21 CFR 111) requires that all dietary ingredients be tested or examined to verify identity prior to use in a finished product. In order to assist manufacturers and suppliers in meeting this requirement, AHPA will present a 2-day, hands-on, educational training program, “Microscopic Identification of Popular Botanical Materials.” The program is scheduled during the weekend of November 13–14 at the University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy in Los Angeles.

Information will be presented in morphological groups such as barks, roots, leaves, seeds, etc., and their characteristic microscopic components. The basic structure of the various tissue types will be discussed and identified using actual examples from a vast database of microscopic botanical images. Information will be briefly reviewed regarding equipment, chemicals and supplies needed to start with if time permits and/or if requested. Participants will spend a significant amount of time during the program conducting hands-on training using a microscope. The program’s overall goal is to have participants leave with the experience necessary to confidently conduct microscopic analysis on a variety of popular botanical ingredients.


· Give beginning to intermediate microscopist the skills and ability to confidently and competently analyze popular botanical ingredients often used in commercial products

· Provide hands-on experience. The majority of the program will be spent on actual, hands-on use of the microscope and the analysis of botanical materials, including:

· Sample preparation and review

· Identification of adulterated materials, including common fillers used to cut materials (flow agents & soluble excipients)

· Connecting the dots: Comparing a certificate of analysis and specifications to microscopic analytical results

· General background on microscopy and use of a microscope

· Identification of appropriate reference resources

· Voucher specimens

· Published references


Laboratory personnel, QA/QC personnel, dietary supplement companies looking for economical means to comply with the GMP requirements regarding establishing identity, or anyone with an interest in utilizing microscopy as a tool for the identification of botanicals.


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The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal products industry. AHPA is comprised of domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbs and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and nonprescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website: www.ahpa.org.

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