Data from: Veronica officinalis product authentication using DNA metabarcoding and HPLC-MS reveals widespread adulteration with Veronica chamaedrys
Raclariu, Ancuta C. et al. (2018), Data from: Veronica officinalis product authentication using DNA metabarcoding and HPLC-MS reveals widespread adulteration with Veronica chamaedrys, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.606ks
Studying herbal products derived from local and traditional knowledge and their value chains is one of the main challenges in ethnopharmacology. The majority of these products have a long history of use, but non-harmonized trade and differences in regulatory policies between countries impact their value chains and lead to concerns over product efficacy, safety and quality. Veronica officinalis L. (common speedwell), a member of Plantaginaceae family, has a long history of use in European traditional medicine, mainly in central eastern Europe and the Balkans. However, no specified control tests are available either to establish the quality of derived herbal products or for the discrimination of its most common substitute, V. chamaedrys L. (germander speedwell). In this study, we use DNA metabarcoding and high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) to authenticate sixteen V. officinalis herbal products and compare the potential of the two approaches to detect substitution, adulteration and the use of unreported constituents. HPLC-MS showed high resolution in detecting phytochemical target compounds, but did not enable detection of specific plant species in the products. DNA metabarcoding detected V. officinalis in only 15% of the products, whereas it detected V. chamaedrys in 62% of the products. The results confirm that DNA metabarcoding can be used to test for the presence of Veronica species, and detect substitution and/or admixture of other Veronica species, as well as simultaneously detect all other species present. Our results confirm that none of the herbal products contained exactly the species listed on the label, and all included substitutes, contaminants or fillers. This study highlights the need for authentication of raw herbals along the value chain of these products. An integrative methodology can assess both the quality of herbal products in terms of target compound concentrations and species composition, as well as admixture and substitution with other chemical compounds and plants.