Dietary supplements and their raw materials are diverse, from an extract in a tablet to a tea packet or oil bottle in the kitchen. Producers and regulators must ensure that active compounds are at levels expected. Authenticity testing is also needed especially where it goes beyond the active compounds which can be spiked into non-authentic products. Geographic origin, freshness and production-type can affect health benefits and also require testing.
LC and GC methods focus on known compounds of importance with many outlined by reference bodies like IOC, ISO, and USP. UHPLC is now speeding up testing and improving selectivity.
FTIR provides even faster identity tests where applicable and is often referenced by USP for assessment of active components. It's speed is complimented by a reduced need for sample preparation and it's suitability for portable testing.
Fingerprinting using mass spectrometry and spectroscopy can deliver a more comprehensive authenticity test and can also address commodities without established markers. New markers can be detected at low levels and identified ensuring they are not a passing contamination.
Finding new markers of difference, needs statistical software to process spectral data from many samples. Agilent's Mass Profiler Professional takes data directly from Agilent systems to achieve this.