Natural doesn’t mean safe. Products extracted from plants can be harmful to humans and the environment (soil and water), even more if sold through illegal channels and in countries where they are not authorized.
Analytical verification of any residues in products intended for human consumption is therefore a strategic theme for the future of this industry.
The case of the matrine is emblematic. Forbidden in Europe and Italy, but easily available online, it was at the center of a scandal in 2014 when it was identified as “fertilizer/corroborating” for organic Italian agriculture.
What is matrine?
- It is a very common alkaloid in the East (China and India in particular)
- It is also known as Matrene, Matrinium, Matrines, Vegard or Sophocarpidine
- It is extracted from the root of a legume, Sophora flavescens or Ku Shen
- It is a traditional Chinese medicinal herb used for its therapeutic properties: anti-cancer, antiviral, antibacterial and antiarthritic activities
- In China and in other eastern countries, it is widely used in agriculture as an insecticide. Tomatoes, grapes, peppers are among the products where it is most used
- Matrine is also a major ingredient in the biopesticide industry alongside piretrine, nicotine, rotenone, azadiractin and others natural products
- Matrine and oxymatrine are active against various types of insects, fungi, bacteria and nematodes
- It is in the top ten Chinese most exported biopesticides.
Only proper analytical methods allow to detect substances such as matrine, also when they are present at very low doses and with a wide variety of formulations, or when it is difficult to check the raw material.
Ensuring the future of natural-based products, means safeguarding the health of consumers and avoiding the risk of fraud. Their sustainability depends on the major guarantees in comparison to traditional chemical products in particular regarding selectivity, drug resistance risks, toxicity, and degradation rates.
Renolab is able to conduct analysis for the research of this substance as residue or contaminating agent in formulated products and in vegetable matrixes. Contact us for information or to request a quote.