Chemical variability along the value chains of turmeric (Curcuma longa): A comparison of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and high performance thin layer chromatography

Journal article


Booker, A., Frommenwiler, D., Johnston, D., Umealajekwu, C., Reich, E. and Heinrich, M. (2014). Chemical variability along the value chains of turmeric (Curcuma longa): A comparison of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and high performance thin layer chromatography. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2013.12.042
AuthorsBooker, A., Frommenwiler, D., Johnston, D., Umealajekwu, C., Reich, E. and Heinrich, M.
Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance
Herbal medicine value chains have generally been overlooked compared with food commodities. Not surprisingly, revenue generation tends to be weighted towards the end of the chain and consequently the farmers and producers are the lowest paid beneficiaries. Value chains have an impact both on the livelihood of producers and on the composition and quality of products commonly sold locally and globally and consequently on the consumers. In order to understand the impact of value chains on the composition of products, we studied the production conditions for turmeric (Curcuma longa) and the metabolomic composition of products derived from it. We aimed at integrating these two components in order to gain a better understanding of the effect of different value chains on the livelihoods of some producers.

Materials and methods
This interdisciplinary project uses a mixed methods approach. Case studies were undertaken on two separate sites in India. Data was initially gathered on herbal medicine value chains by means of semi-structured interviews and non-participant observations. Samples were collected from locations in India, Europe and the USA and analysed using 1H NMR spectroscopy coupled with multivariate analysis software and with high performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC).

Results
We investigate medicinal plant value chains and interpret the impact different value chains have on some aspects of the livelihoods of producers in India and, for the first time, analytically assess the chemical variability and quality implications that different value chains may have on the products available to end users in Europe. There are benefits to farmers that belonged to an integrated chain and the resulting products were subject to a higher standard of processing and storage.

By using analytical methods, including HPTLC and 1H NMR spectroscopy, it has been possible to correlate some variations in product composition for selected producers and identify strengths and weaknesses of some types of value chains. The two analytical techniques provide different and complementary data and together they can be used to effectively differentiate between a wide variety of crude drug powders and herbal medicinal products.

Conclusions
This project demonstrates that there is a need to study the links between producers and consumers of commodities produced in so-called ‘provider countries’ and that metabolomics offer a novel way of assessing the chemical variability along a value chain. This also has implications for understanding the impact this has on the livelihood of those along the value chain.

Year2014
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0378-8741
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2013.12.042
Web address (URL)http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-84896727878&partnerID=MN8TOARS
Publication dates
Online10 Jan 2014
Publication process dates
Accepted20 Dec 2013
Deposited13 Dec 2022
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
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