Milan, December 5th, 2006 – Australian scientists have recently published a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry highlighting the importance of using the High-performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) method in order to detect adulteration in commercial samples of bilberry extract (J. Agric. Food. Chem. 2006, 54, 7378 – 7382). According to the study, the HPLC technique is the most suitable for determining the actual anthocyanin content of bilberry extracts.
Anthocyanins are flavonoids accounting for many of the beneficial properties of these extracts and are responsible for the bright blue and red colors of many fruits and berries.
The study compared the anthocyanin content in Mirtoselect® with another commercial bilberry extract. Using the single-wavelength UV-visible spectrophotometric method, described in the British Pharmacopoeia, the total anthocyanin content of both extracts is similar to the value claimed by the manufacturers at 25%. However, if the HPLC method is used, only Mirtoselect® is in compliance with the claimed values; the rival bilberry extract in fact contains only 9% anthocyanins, probably not derived from Vaccinium myrtillus L. but from an adulterant identified as amaranth. The results described in the study suggest that the adulterated extract does not contain any bilberry (V. myrtillus L. ) and reveals chemicals not easily detected with the common analytical methods.
Commenting on the news, Roberto Pace, Indena Analytical Research Director, says: “these important results confirm the suitability of the analytical method in identifying unequivocally the botanical raw materials used for manufacturing and evaluating the composition of the extracts demonstrating yet again the quality of Indena products”.
Anthocyanins are today among the most investigated compounds for their role of dietary constituents in the prevention of cancer. Researchers from the University of Leicester have recently published an article showing the chemoprevention activity of Mirtoselect® in a well-known international model for the study of chemopreventive agents in colon cancer (Cooke D. et al. Int. J. Cancer, 119, 2213, 2006). The pharmacological efficacy was accompanied by measurable levels of anthocyanins and their metabolites in the target organ (intestinal mucosa) and in the urine.
Antonella Riva, Indena Senior Research Scientist, added that there was “an increasing interest in the role of dietary constituents in the prevention of cancer,” and believes that “the study confirms that anthocyanins are amongst the most interesting active ingredients”.
Indena is the world's leading company dedicated to the identification, development and production of active principles derived from plants, for use in the pharmaceutical, health food and cosmetics industries. Indena, a privately owned Italian company, reported 170 million Euro in consolidated turnover in 2005, mostly generated abroad. The key to Indena's success is its research, covering: the screening of medicinal plants for their pharmacological benefits; the identification of new active principles; and the development of extraction and purification systems at the cutting-edge of industrial application. Backed up by over 80 years of botanical experience, the phyto-chemical research is carried out in Indena's own Settala Research Center, near Milan. Indena also co-operates with the world's most prestigious universities and private research institutions in the biological assessment of safety and effectiveness up to clinical phase I. The company, with more than 700 employees, including 10% dedicated to full-time research, manages cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution operations in more than 40 countries throughout the world. The Company's experts communicate and interact constantly with the major international regulatory authorities such as WHO, EMEA, and ESCOP, and work with all the main pharmacopoeias.
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