News & Events

James Harnly, Ph.D.

Posted on October 5, 2018


Date - October 5, 2018
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Dr. James Harnly
Food Composition & Methods Development Lab
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Talk Title: Identification, Authentication, and Analysis of Natural Products and Their ComponentsTalk


Talk Title: Identification, Authentication, and Analysis of Natural Products and Their Components

Analytical methods are being developed for natural products on two levels; chemical identification and authentication of the whole plant or part (roots, stems, leaves) and analysis of their molecular components.  Identification is best approached using spectral fingerprinting and multivariate analysis while a comprehensive analysis of components requires metabolomics.  Both approaches are non-targeted.  Identification of botanical supplements is particularly challenging as manufacturers frequently receive ingredients from a supplier (not the farmer) as barrels of brown powder.  Chemical identification methods based on spectral or chromatographic fingerprinting provide patterns that can be used to discriminate between genus, species, cultivar, growing location (geographical and meteorological variations), season, and year, farming modes (organic and conventional), and processing methods.  On the molecular level, it has been estimated that plants may contain as many as 50,000 secondary metabolites, each with the potential to impact human health.  Identification and quantification are important for understanding their metabolic role and synergism.  Metabolomics with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography and high resolution accurate mass/tandem mass spectrometry provides tremendous amounts of information but is time consuming to interpret.  Automated methods of identification and databases for metabolites are necessary.  I will describe my lab’s efforts in both areas and our work to combine the two into an integrated approach.