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AHPA launches Botanical Authentication Wiki

Web-based centralized source of reference information can help reduce the cost and time of botanical authentication activities.

To further serve the herbal and botanical products industry, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) announced that it has formally launched the AHPA Botanical Authentication Wiki as a functional open beta website.

The first known resource of its kind, the AHPA Botanical Authentication Wiki, part of AHPA's Botanical Authentication Program, is a centralized source of reference information containing both examples and techniques that have been successfully applied to authenticate selected botanical materials.

The AHPA Botanical Authentication Wiki, with more than 120 botanicals online, includes botanical microscopy images, high-performance thin-layer chromatography techniques, organoleptic properties, a discussion of potential adulterants, and also forms an expandable platform that can easily introduce other methods as it develops. It is hoped that the wiki can reduce the cost and time associated with conducting botanical authentication activities.

The wiki will grow as users provide feedback and additional data on key botanical ingredients. An expert advisory panel, professional botanical analysts, and industry-user requests will add to these additional entries through a vetting process.

"The wiki is an evolving tool that can help make professionals more efficient at authenticating herbal ingredient identity and respond to changing industry conditions to provide timely and relevant information, unlike other, relatively static authentication reference resources," said Merle Zimmermann, Ph.D., AHPA information analyst, who oversees the project. "As the site continues to grow, it will become increasingly valuable as a part of a well-rounded authentication toolkit."

Wiki registrations, free to AHPA members and for a limited time to the industry at large, are available to anyone expressing an interest in participating in the development of the site. Participation during the beta stage of development will help ensure a high level of input toward building a viable authentication resource.

In 1997, AHPA introduced its Botanical Authentication Program, which now consists of:

  • The identification of known adulterants
  • The presentation of information on analytical methods to help ensure botanical identity
  • Training for quality control personnel, including hands-on seminars on microscopy and high-performance thin-layer chromatography
  • The AHPA Botanical Authentication Wiki

"Botanical authentication has always been a priority of AHPA," said Steven Dentali, Ph.D., AHPA's chief science officer. "Providing the means to clearly identify ingredients is just one of the ways AHPA works to serve its members and the industry at large. The AHPA Botanical Authentication Wiki is in continued active development with a current high priority on the addition of practical HPTLC identification methods."

For more information and to register for open beta access to the wiki, contact Merle Zimmermann, 301.588.1171x106.

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