Aiming to further develop molecular diagnostics technology that will ensure authentic ingredients in natural health products, the University of Guelph has struck a five-year collaboration agreement with Guelph-based company Purity-IQ. Under the agreement, Purity-IQ, an ingredient quality assurance certification standards company, will provide $1 million to support the University’s Natural Health Products Research Alliance (NHPRA). The agreement will enable the University to develop novel molecular diagnostics to help tackle ingredient authentication issues challenging the natural health product (NHP) industry.
“We are delighted that Purity-IQ has chosen to support such an important initiative and look forward to the innovative research resulting from our partnership,” said Dr. Mazyar Fallah, dean of U of G’s College of Biological Science.
The NHPRA is a U of G-led endeavour founded by plant biologist Dr. Steven Newmaster to develop species identification technology to help standardize the NHP industry. Its tools and protocols are now used by dozens of companies around the world.
Increased demand for herbal products has led to the adulteration of many products, including lack of claimed ingredients. As well, searching for specific herbal ingredients has led to the exploitation of natural resources and loss of habitats. The NHPRA aims to ensure authentic products for the industry and its consumers, protect biodiversity and ensure the sustainability of raw NHP ingredients.
“While developing new novel tools and solutions to address the needs of the NHP industry, our team of experts at the University and NHPRA is also tackling fundamental scientific questions, such as the challenges of DNA barcoding in plants and finding solutions to conservation concerns,” said Newmaster, the alliance’s managing director.
The collaboration will enable the NHPRA to continue to create new industry standards for species ingredient authentication that can be verified by regulators such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. The alliance will also develop a Standard Biological Reference Materials library for natural ingredients.
At the same time, the collaboration will allow the development of further innovative biotechnology as well as develop and validate open-access standard operating procedures to inform molecular diagnostic testing of NHPs.
“Purity-IQ is proud to collaborate with the NHPRP. We, too, are driven by and firmly believe in the need for authenticity, identity and purity of products and ingredients. The NHPRA goals are closely aligned to our own, which makes the collaboration a perfect fit,” said Deleo de Leonardis, CEO of Purity-IQ.