qReference (qRef) is a collection of resources for Botanical Reference Materials and Quality Control (QC) of botanicals in general. qReference combines three aspects:
- To provide chemical and biological information about widely used botanicals.
- To describe analytical methods of quality control, specifically recent methods such as quantitative Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (qNMR), Mass Spectroscopy, and hyphenated Liquid Chromatography.
- To provide Quality Reference Materials established by modern analytical technology, in particular qNMR, Mass Spectroscopy, and Liquid Chromatography.
Thus, the "q" in "qRef" stands for several things including: the importance of botanical quality as a prerequisite for the integrity of botanical products; the innovative potential of NMR as a qualitative and quantitative analytical tool for herbal analysis.
qReference is the result of a research program established in 2009, which is funded by an ARRA grant from NCCAM/NIH to the research team at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) lead by Guido Pauli, PhD, an associate professor of pharmacognosy at UIC. The project develops new methodology to characterize reference materials of phytoconstituents of botanical dietary supplements and perform cross-validation of existing and new phytoanalytical methods. This study use NMR, qNMR and LC-coupled Mass Spectroscopy to generate qualitative and quantitative fingerprints of herbal reference materials. This will allow for and foster a more accurate identification of the correct plant materials and reference compounds used in production of dietary supplements and provide more reliable assays to ensure botanical quality and safety.
"This project seeks to establish new spectrometric technologies for the assessment of the quality and integrity of botanical dietary supplements, which are widely consumed by the US public and a major health economy factor," according to Guido Pauli.
Acknowledgement: This electronic publication was made possible by grant number RC2 AT005899 from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institute of Health. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCCAM.