An EU-funded research project is shining a spotlight on the benefits, risks and quality of botanicals.
A consortium of international research groups worked with botanists from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna to investigate whether botanicals available as drops, capsules, lozenges, tablets and pills, for example, truly deliver on what they promise. The PlantLIBRA research project was kicked off in 2010 and ends in May this year. The wrap-up event will be held from May 12 to 14 in Vienna.
The 25 nations involved in the “PlantLIBRA” research project all pursued the same goal: to record the benefits and risks of botanicals and test the quality of the products available on the market. The experts involved also compiled a database that will make it easier for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and other national authorities to assess botanicals.
Testing potency and toxicity
Botanicals, available as capsules, lozenges, tablets, pills and other similar dosage forms, are legally defined as foodstuffs and therefore subject to less stringent regulations than pharmaceuticals. Whether they offer any benefits, or may even pose risks, to consumers is the subject of the EU project that investigated a range of selected samples.
“Whether a product actually contains the plant advertised on the package has not been tested in many cases. And it often takes a liability suit before we find out whether the active ingredients in a botanical product are effective or perhaps even poisonous,” reports workpackage leader and Professor Emeritus at the Vetmeduni Vienna, Chlodwig Franz.“ The goal of this EU project was to shed light on this grey area.”
Methods developed to test products
Botanists from the Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds developed methods for investigating the quality of the products. They also established DNA analysis techniques that allow the exact identity of the plants used.
European products exceeded expectations
The researchers examined different products from all over Europe that contained passion flower, devil’s claw, melissa, chamomile, valerian, calendula and ribwort. According to researcher Silvia Sponza: “All the European products we examined, including teas, pills, drops, powders and ointments, did in fact contain what was listed on the packaging. And the quality of the active ingredients was even on par with the quality standards that apply to pharmaceuticals.”
The scientists also drew up a list of analysis laboratories in Europe, an important resource for the industry. This will make it much easier for botanicals manufacturers to select the right lab to run analyses on their products.
Interviews with experts
The PlantLIBRA final conference will be held in Vienna from May 12 to 14. Study research partners and representatives from the industry will be in attendance. Professor Chlodwig Franz and his colleagues will be available during the event at the Hotel Stefanie (Taborstraße 12, 1020 Vienna) for interviews.
Prof. Chlodwig Franz
T +43 664 1608363
Location of the Conference:
Programm der Konferenz: https://plantlibra2014.icc.or.at/programme
Wissenschaftskommunikation / Public Relations
T +43 1 25077 1153
About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna
The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,200 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at
Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa 2016
12.02.2016 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg
Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists
09.02.2016 | Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
12.02.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
12.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
12.02.2016 | Life Sciences
12.02.2016 | Medical Engineering