The newsletter is part of BAPP’s growing library of peer-reviewed publications, now numbering 67, including adulteration bulletins, laboratory advice focused on analytical procedures for given herbal remedies, and other materials. The BAPP is a collaborative effort between the lead organization, the American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi.
Pomegranates are the fruit of a small tree believed to be native to northern India, Iran and Afghanistan, but which has been widely cultivated in warmer parts of the world for millennia. The whole fruit trade is flourishing, but there is a much larger market for juice products and extracts.
In the United States, the market has grown thanks to the efforts of the Californian couple Stuart and Linda Resnick through their brand POM Wonderful. According to the BAPP bulletin, the global market for pomegranate products was valued at $ 8.2 billion in 2018.
The bulletin revealed that at least three forms of adulteration were commonly observed in the market. The coarser one is diluting pomegranate juice with water and sugar and / or less expensive fruit juices, such as apple juice. Since pure pomegranate juice is dark red / purple in color, such adulteration can be quite easy to detect via visual inspection.
The other common forms are more sinister. One form seen in the market is that of products labeled “pomegranate” which are composed of a mixture of exogenous polyphenols from unspecified sources. Another form, and perhaps the most difficult to detect, is when the sub-concentrated pomegranate juice is augmented with exogenous polyphenols, such as ellagic acid, to mimic both the intensity of color and, in to some extent, the chemical profile of a 100% pure product.
Cheaper forms of ellagic acid suspected of being adulterated
The bulletin mentions that the ellagic acid in so-called “Chinese gall nuts” is much cheaper than the same compound extracted from pomegranates. Gallnuts are resinous scars rich in ellagic acid that form on young branches of various tree species after an insect attack. The BAPP bulletin says real pomegranate extracts range from $ 40 to $ 200 per kilo, depending on specification, quality and quantity, but prices as low as $ 10 per kilo have been listed on the Chinese sales portal Alibaba. . Gall nut extracts, on the other hand, can be found for as little as $ 5 per pound.
“Price data for EA-rich gall nut extracts is included here to indicate a likely explanation for the very low prices listed on the Internet for certain pomegranate extracts,”indicates the bulletin.
“Ellagic acid concentrations have become a marketing tool for pomegranate supplements, suggesting to industry members and consumers that higher levels represent more concentrated, more potent, and therefore more effective extracts. This despite clinical studies indicating that various constituents of pomegranate – in addition to ellagic acid – are responsible for its pharmacological activity and its beneficial effects on health. As such, pomegranate products that do not contain certain naturally occurring pomegranate compounds, such as the characteristic punicalins and punicalagins, may not only be adulterated, but also may not provide the health benefits. expected “, said BAPP director and newsletter co-author Stefan Gafner, PhD. He is also the scientific director of ABC.
Better and better, but still not good enough
The BAPP published its first pomegranate adulteration newsletter in 2016. At that time, 35% or more of products on the market failed quality inspections. More recent studies cited in the current newsletter found that rates have declined to 27% or even as low as 20%. An improvement, but not sufficient, says the document.
“While this appears to be a marked improvement in the situation, it should be noted that only two relatively small studies have been reported recently, and a failure rate of 20% or more is still unacceptable.”indicates the bulletin.
While not a laboratory guidance document per se, like other bulletins of this type, the current BAPP publication provides an overview of how best to test pomegranate products. for adulterants. These analytical approaches include various mass spectrometry techniques and experimental imprinted polymer technology in which test materials can be “coded”, so to speak, to bind to a specific compound suspected of adultery.
To read the full newsletter on ABC’s HerbalGram website, Click hereIn addition to this, you need to know more about it..