DNA authentication of animal-derived concentrated Chinese medicine granules

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Concentrated Chinese medicine granules (CCMG) offer patients a convenient option for traditional therapy. However with morphological and microscopic characteristics lost, it is difficult to authenticate and control the quality of these medicinal products. This study is the first to examine the feasibility of using DNA techniques to authenticate animal-derived CCMG, which has so far lacking of effective means for authentication. Primers targeting amplicons of different sizes were designed to determine the presence of PCR-amplifiable DNA fragments in two types of CCMG, namely Zaocys and Scorpio. Species-specific primers were designed to differentiate the genuine drugs from their adulterants. The specificity of the designed primers was evaluated in crude drugs (including genuine and adulterant) and CCMG. Results showed that by using species-specific primers, DNA fragments of less than 200 bp could be isolated from the CCMG and the concerned source materials. This study demonstrated the presence of small size DNA in animal-derived CCMG and the DNA is effective in species identification. The work has extended the application of DNA techniques in herbal medicine and this approach may be further developed for quality control and regulatory compliance in the CCMG industry.

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