Chemometric-Guided Approaches for Profiling and Authenticating Botanical Materials

Evelyn J. Abraham, Joshua J. Kellogg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Botanical supplements with broad traditional and medicinal uses represent an area of growing importance for American health management; 25% of U.S. adults use dietary supplements daily and collectively spent over $9. 5 billion in 2019 in herbal and botanical supplements alone. To understand how natural products benefit human health and determine potential safety concerns, careful in vitro, in vivo, and clinical studies are required. However, botanicals are innately complex systems, with complicated compositions that defy many standard analytical approaches and fluctuate based upon a plethora of factors, including genetics, growth conditions, and harvesting/processing procedures. Robust studies rely upon accurate identification of the plant material, and botanicals' increasing economic and health importance demand reproducible sourcing, as well as assessment of contamination or adulteration. These quality control needs for botanical products remain a significant problem plaguing researchers in academia as well as the supplement industry, thus posing a risk to consumers and possibly rendering clinical data irreproducible and/or irrelevant. Chemometric approaches that analyze the small molecule composition of materials provide a reliable and high-throughput avenue for botanical authentication. This review emphasizes the need for consistent material and provides insight into the roles of various modern chemometric analyses in evaluating and authenticating botanicals, focusing on advanced methodologies, including targeted and untargeted metabolite analysis, as well as the role of multivariate statistical modeling and machine learning in phytochemical characterization. Furthermore, we will discuss how chemometric approaches can be integrated with orthogonal techniques to provide a more robust approach to authentication, and provide directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number780228
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
StatePublished - Nov 26 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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