Aogubio’s herbs pass tests for the full range of today’s contaminants. Tests include analysis for heavy metals, dangerous pesticides, sulfur dioxide, aflatoxins.
A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is produced with each batch of herbs. The COA documents the excellent quality of their herbal extracts.
Authentication is the determination of the correct species, origin and quality of Chinese herbs. Aogubio’s authentication process aims to prevent the use of inauthentic herbs, whether by mistaken identification or the substitution of imitation products.
Aogubio’s authentication method is modeled not only after the foundation books of TCM, but also in accordance with each country’s particular standards for quality and inspection methods. The authentication method also uses technology specified for detection of the correct origin and species of the Chinese herbs.
Aogubio performs the following methods of authentication on raw herbs:
Aogubio applies the techniques of Thin-layer chromatography (TLC), High-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS), and Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) to authenticate the species identity of herbs.
Sulfur Dioxide Detection
Aogubio takes actions to prevent sulfur fumigation from being applied to its raw herbs. Aogubio takes many precautions to keep sulfur fumigation from its herbs, because it can jeopardize the quality and safety of the herbal products.
Aogubio’s quality control teams analyze herbs for sulfur dioxide. Aogubio employs the following methods: aerated-oxidization, iodine titration, atomic absorption spectroscopy and direct color comparison. Aogubio uses the Rankine method for sulfur dioxide residue analysis. In this method, the herbal sample is reacted with acid and then distilled. The sulfur dioxide is absorbed into the oxidized Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2). The resultant sulfuric base is titrated with a standard base. The resulting colors determine the sulfur content: olive green indicates no oxidized sulfur residue while a purplish-red color indicates a presence of oxidized sulfuric acid.
Pesticide Residuals Detection
Chemical pesticides are generally classified into organochlorine, organophosphate, carbamate and pyrethin. Of these, organochlorine pesticides have the longest history of use, are most potent in effectiveness, and are also the most harmful to human health. Although many organochlorine pesticides are already forbidden by law, their persistent nature resists being broken down and can remain in the environment long after use. Aogubio takes a comprehensive approach to testing for pesticides.
Aogubio’s labs test not just for the chemical compounds in the pesticide itself, but also test for the by-product chemical compounds. Pesticide analysis must anticipate all potentially harmful chemical changes produced in the plant to be truly effective. The techniques generally employed to detect pesticide residuals are thin-layer chromatography (TLC) or gas chromatography. TLC is used in most general cases because it is simple and easy to execute. Yet KP insists on using gas chromatography because of its high sensitivity, precision, and more reliable results.
Aspergillus flavus is a fungus that occurs in pesticides, soil, corn, peanuts, hay and animal organs. Aspergillus flavus has also been found in Chinese herbs such as corydalis (yan hu suo), cyperus (xiang fu) and jujube (da zao). It thrives especially in warm temperatures of 77–86°F, a relative humidity above 75% and a pH level above 5.6. The fungus can actually grow in temperatures as low as 54° but will not be toxic.
Aogubio enforces strict international regulation standards. Aflatoxin testing is performed on all herbs at risk of contamination. Aogubio values high-quality premium herbs, and herbs that contain unacceptable Aflatoxin levels are discarded. These strict standards keep herbs safe and efficacious for consumers.
Heavy Metal Detection
Herbs have been used medicinally in China for thousands of years. Hundreds of years ago, herbs grew in nature organically, without any risk of contamination by pesticides or other pollutants. With the industrialization of agriculture and expansion of the chemical industry, the situation has changed. Industrial waste and pesticides can add dangerous chemicals to herbs. Even indirect waste – such as acid rain and contaminated groundwater – can dangerously alter herbs. Along with industry’s growth, the danger of heavy metals in herbs has become an acute concern.
Heavy metals refer to metallic chemical elements that have a high density and are highly toxic. Aogubio takes precautions to audit its suppliers’ products to ward against heavy metals. Once herbs reach Aogubio, they are analyzed as raw herbs and analyzed again post-processing in the form of granules.
Aogubio uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to detect for the five heavy metals that pose the most serious risk toward human health: lead, copper, cadmium, arsenic and mercury. In excessive quantities each of these heavy metals endangers health in different ways.