In July 2021, the American Botanical Council (ABC), American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and ABC-AHP-NCNPR (National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi) Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP) announced a new partnership with the International Association for the Advancement of High-Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography (HPTLC Association) in Rheinfelden, Switzerland. ABC and AHP have signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the HPTLC Association. According to the MoUs, members of ABC and AHP, as well as registered users of the BAPP website, will gain access to electronic research, analytical, and educational content owned by the HPTLC Association, including its HPTLC analytical method collection, which currently contains more than 280 different entries for herbal ingredients. ABC, AHP, and BAPP also will be listed as partners on the HPTLC Association website.
Founded in 2012, the HPTLC Association, an international, non-commercial, nonprofit association with more than 100 members from 18 countries, promotes the use of HPTLC in plant material analysis and other fields. According to the association, HPTLC is a “state-of-the art technique for plant analysis [which] features significantly shorter developing times, lower solvent consumptions, and improved resolution.”1 The organization brings together individuals from academia, industry, research and regulatory fields, and standard-setting bodies and contributes to the improvement of quality and quality control of traditional herbal medicines and herbal dietary (food) supplements. The association develops and validates analytical standards for plants and plant materials sold in commerce and their known adulterants, and it aims to serve as the leading worldwide resource for scientifically sound information on HPTLC.
One highlight of the association’s work is the HPTLC Atlas (referred to as “The International Atlas for Identification of Herbal Drugs” on the HPTLC Association’s website), an online compendium with HPTLC fingerprints from the same plant species that are collected in many places around the world and are subject to different growing conditions. As such, this resource allows laboratory analysts and others to compare the chemical variability of plants from different geographical areas. The Atlas also provides chemical fingerprints from known confounding materials (sometimes used as adulterants) to help quality-control personnel authenticate herbal ingredients. In addition, Atlas entries contain HPTLC illustrations of botanically authenticated reference samples and specifications for each botanical item from numerous international pharmacopeias and reference publications. The Atlas is a valuable analytical resource for laboratory analysts in academic research and government regulatory agencies.
Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC and director of BAPP, said: “We are deeply grateful for this excellent collaboration with our friends at the HPTLC Association, who have generously made their high-quality analytical resources available to botanical ingredient quality-control personnel on an international basis. The vast range of HPTLC fingerprints will no doubt assist botanical industry members in ensuring that plant materials for consumer botanical health products are authentic and free from adulterants that are sometimes added to botanical ingredients.”
AHP President Roy Upton expressed his support for HPTLC as an important analytical method for botanical materials. “We are pleased to feature the contributions of the HPTLC Association, which are intended to help AHP members in their herbal authentication work,” he wrote. “AHP was a founding member of the HPTLC Association and has supported the development of numerous methods in the association’s Method Collection. AHP believes that HPTLC is one of the most versatile and cost-effective techniques for chemical profiling and identification of plants and is of enormous value to industry and academics. AHP continues to work with the association to develop new methods. A number of the association’s methods were developed for AHP monographs.”
ABC Chief Science Officer and BAPP Technical Director Stefan Gafner, PhD, wrote: “Having a database such as the HPTLC Atlas, with fingerprints of botanical ingredients grown in many areas around the globe, is very useful, constructive, and compelling, as analysts and researchers will be able to see minor differences in an HPTLC trace depending on where the plant is grown. Making the Atlas’ information widely available will certainly be beneficial to industry-based ABC and AHP members, as well as the herbal industry and botanical ingredient analysis community at large.”
Maged Sharaf, PhD, HPTLC Association board member and chair of the Method Review Committee and the North America Chapter, added: “It gives the HPTLC Association’s Board of Directors, and in particular those of us residing in North America, great pleasure to formalize our long collaboration and friendship with ABC, AHP, and their partner at the University of Mississippi’s NCNPR. We are certain that this mutually beneficial partnership will further promote ABC’s vision of the public making ‘educated, responsible choices about herbal medicine as an accepted part of health care,’ which is analogous to one of the HPTLC Association’s missions.”
- What is HPTLC? HPTLC Association website. Available at: www.hptlc-association.org/about/what_is_hptlc.cfm. Accessed August 16, 2021.