Detection of adulteration in Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal) dietary supplements via untargeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics

Emily D. Wallace, Nicholas H. Oberlies, Nadja B. Cech, Joshua J. Kellogg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Current estimates report that approximately 25% of U.S. adults use dietary supplements for medicinal purposes. Yet, regulation and transparency within the dietary supplement industry remains a challenge, and economic incentives encourage adulteration or augmentation of botanical dietary supplement products. Undisclosed changes to the dietary supplement composition could impact safety and efficacy; thus, there is a continued need to monitor possible botanical adulteration or mis-identification. Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis L. (Ranunculaceae), is a well-known botanical used to combat bacterial infections and digestive problems and is widely available as a dietary supplement. The goal of this study was to evaluate potential adulteration in commercial botanical products using untargeted metabolomics, with H. canadensis supplements serving as a test case. An untargeted ultraperformance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) metabolomics analysis was performed on 35 H. canadensis commercial products. Visual inspection of the chemometric data via principal component analysis (PCA) revealed several products that were distinct from the main groupings of samples, and subsequent evaluation of contributing metabolites led to their confirmation of the outliers as originating from a non-goldenseal species or a mixture of plant materials. The obtained results demonstrate the potential for untargeted metabolomics to discriminate between multiple unknown products and predict possible adulteration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-447
Number of pages9
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
StatePublished - Oct 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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