Carol Cheow, general manager of Cactus Botanics, discussed the recent adulterative agent, Sodium hexametaphosphate, which was discovered in some chondroitin sulfate material. "This is normally used as an industrial chemical and is easily available at a very low price. Although it is often used effectively—and appropriately— in detergent or water treatment agents, it is unsafe as a food additive for human ingestion," she explained.
Ms. Cheow added that Cactus Botanics ensures chondroitin sulfate material quality with four methods—HPLC, CPC, EHPLC, and specific rotation. " Chondroitin sulfate is typically derived from animal cartilages, such as chicken, bovine, shark, etc. Our experts employ four test methods to determine the quality of our chondroitin sulfate material and its purity," she said.
The four testing methods include:
1) HPLC: High Performance Liquid Chromatography, is a qualitative test method. Chondroitin sulfate is dispersed evenly by acetonitrile and dissolved in water. After the liquid chromatography separation, 192 mm wavelength is in the determination of external standard method.
2) CPC: CPC is a test method for purity. This method is based on the formation of turbidity reactions with organic anions such as sulfate or carboxylate ions under slightly basic conditions. The key is organic anion. Further, the principle behind this method is the binding of the cationic CPC molecules with the negatively charged chondroitin sulphate to form insoluble ion pairs seen as a precipitate. The absorbance of the solution is monitored and by comparing with a chondroitin standard solution of known concentration, the amount of chondroitin in the test solution can be determined.
3) EHPLC: There is also another test method introduced to the market, known as EHPLC. It is a method based on special enzymatic hydrolysis to produce disaccharides Di-4S, Di-6S and Di-0S that make up the chondroitin sulfate A and C and non-sulfated chondroitin. The resulting disaccharides are then measured by HPLC with a UV detector at 240 nm. This method only can be executed by a few laboratories worldwide, and only one in the US," Cheow explains.
4) Specific Rotation: In chemistry, specific rotation ([α]) is a property of a chiral chemical compound. The variance of specific rotation with wavelength — a phenomenon known as optical rotatory dispersion — can be used to find the absolute configuration of a molecule. The specific rotation of chondroitin sulfate is -20°~-30°.
"When it comes to nourishing aging joints, chondroitin sulfate is the most recognized supplement consumers seek, along with glucosamine," Ms. Cheow commented. "Because awareness and trust remain so high, it is incumbent upon brand marketers to ensure that your chondroitin source is safe and proven pure."
For more information: www.cactusbotanics.com