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   Jan 16

HKBU Scientists Invent New Chemical Method for Cordyceps sinensis Authentication

HONG KONG, Jan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — A Chinese medicine research team at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has identified a unique polysaccharide marker from the caterpillar part of Cordyceps sinensis, and successfully applied it to the qualitative and quantitative authentication of this valuable Chinese herbal medicine. This novel, low-cost method can authenticate Cordyceps sinensis in an hour.

Traditional authentication methods incur high costs

Cordyceps sinensis, commonly known as “caterpillar fungus”, belongs to Clavicipitaceae, a family of fungi. It grows inside the larvae of ghost moths and is the dry insect-fungi complex of the larval carcass. As a precious Chinese herbal medicine, Cordyceps sinensis is rich in chemical ingredients which can be used in disease prevention, the treatment of cancers, and as an anti-ageing agent and booster for the immune system.

Adulteration of Cordyceps sinensis is common in the market. Traditional authenticity checks of Cordyceps sinensis mainly rely on experts to identify its shape and colour. Genetic and microscopic identification techniques can also be used. However, genetic identification is expensive, whereas microscopic identification requires strict professional training. Furthermore, some chemical methods cannot effectively distinguish Cordyceps sinensisfrom other adulterants.

Polysaccharide marker identified for sample authentication

A Chinese medicine research team led by Dr Han Quanbin, Associate Professor of the School of Chinese Medicine at HKBU, conducted a study to compare the polysaccharides that exist in Cordyceps sinensis with those found in fake adulterants. A unique polysaccharide marker, which is classified as 1,4-α-glucan, was found only in the caterpillar part of Cordyceps sinensis, and not in the samples of fake adulterants.

Source: Yahoo Finance

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