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      Authentication of Ginkgo biloba Herbal Products by a Novel Quantitative Real-Time PCR Approach

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          Abstract

          Ginkgo biloba is a widely used medicinal plant. Due to its potential therapeutic effects, it is an ingredient in several herbal products, such as plant infusions and plant food supplements (PFS). Currently, ginkgo is one of the most popular botanicals used in PFS. Due to their popularity and high cost, ginkgo-containing products are prone to be fraudulently substituted by other plant species. Therefore, this work aimed at developing a method for G. biloba detection and quantification. A new internal transcribe spacer (ITS) marker was identified, allowing the development of a ginkgo-specific real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay targeting the ITS region, with high specificity and sensitivity, down to 0.02 pg of DNA. Additionally, a normalized real-time PCR approach using the delta cycle quantification (ΔCq) method was proposed for the effective quantification of ginkgo in plant mixtures. The method exhibited high performance parameters, namely PCR efficiency, coefficient of correlation and covered dynamic range (50–0.01%), achieving limits of detection and quantification of 0.01% ( w/ w) of ginkgo in tea plant ( Camellia sinensis). The quantitative approach was successfully validated with blind mixtures and further applied to commercial ginkgo-containing herbal infusions. The estimated ginkgo contents of plant mixture samples suggest adulterations due to reduction or almost elimination of ginkgo. In this work, useful and robust tools were proposed to detect/quantify ginkgo in herbal products, which suggests the need for a more effective and stricter control of such products.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Authentication of medicinal plants by DNA markers

          Medicinal plants have been used worldwide for centuries to maintain health and to treat diseases, more so chronic diseases. However, adulteration and use of spurious materials as substitutes have become a major concern for users and industry for reasons of safety and efficacy. Therefore, authentication of medicinal plants is of utmost importance. Morphological, anatomical, chemical and DNA markers solve the problem by differentiating the genuine material from the adulterants, substitutes and spurious drugs. DNA markers use nucleotide sequences to identify species; it takes preference over the other two markers being not age dependent, tissue specific and having a higher discriminating power. Therefore, characterization of plants with such markers is an ideal approach for identification of medicinal plant species and populations/varieties of the same species. Availability of certified taxonomic specimens in herbaria is certainly required for unambiguous confirmation through final visual comparison and analysis.
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            Biology and chemistry of Ginkgo biloba.

            Ginkgo biloba has been existing on earth since 200 million years and is considered as a "living fossil". It is among the most sold medicinal plants in the world. A number of secondary metabolites representing terpenoids, polyphenols, allyl phenols, organic acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids and lipids, inorganic salts and amino acids have been isolated from the plant. However, the main bioactive constituents are terpene trilactones and flavonoid glycosides which are considered responsible for the pharmacological activities of its standardized leaf extract. Scattered information is available on the extraction and analysis of these pharmacologically important constituents which have been compiled in the present review.
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              Authentication of Ginkgo biloba herbal dietary supplements using DNA barcoding.

              Ginkgo biloba L. (known as ginkgo or maidenhair tree) is a phylogenetically isolated, charismatic, gymnosperm tree. Herbal dietary supplements, prepared from G. biloba leaves, are consumed to boost cognitive capacity via improved blood perfusion and mitochondrial function. A novel DNA mini-barcode assay was designed and validated for the authentication of G. biloba in herbal dietary supplements (n = 22; sensitivity = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.59-1.00; specificity = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.64-1.00). This assay was further used to estimate the frequency of mislabeled ginkgo herbal dietary supplements on the market in the United States of America: DNA amenable to PCR could not be extracted from three (7.5%) of the 40 supplements sampled, 31 of 37 (83.8%) assayable supplements contained identifiable G. biloba DNA, and six supplements (16.2%) contained fillers without any detectable G. biloba DNA. It is hoped that this assay will be used by supplement manufacturers to ensure that their supplements contain G. biloba.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Foods
                Foods
                foods
                Foods
                MDPI
                2304-8158
                04 September 2020
                September 2020
                : 9
                : 9
                Affiliations
                [1 ]REQUIMTE-LAQV, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal; li_grazina@ 123456hotmail.com (L.G.); jbcosta@ 123456ff.up.pt (J.C.)
                [2 ]Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Campus de Sta. Apolónia, 5301-857 Bragança, Portugal; jamaral@ 123456ipb.pt
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: isabel.mafra@ 123456ff.up.pt ; Tel.: +351-220-428-500
                Article
                foods-09-01233
                10.3390/foods9091233
                7555165
                32899672
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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