Ancuta Cristina Raclariu
Monitoring and authentication of herbal food supplements is complicated as products often contain highly processed and biologically degraded ingredients. The aim of my PhD project is to gather information, test, develop and apply innovative molecular identification methodologies to herbal products using real life case scenarios and also to investigate the drivers behind substitution and adulteration of herbal food supplements.
The project uses high-throughput sequencing for metabarcoding of constituent species in complex herbal products, and bioinformatics pipelines to make semi-quantitative approximations of the contribution of each species in the mixture. This approach enables highly sensitive species detection in processed products, and will hopefully enable us to distinguish trace contamination from contamination at level that could pose a threat to consumers.
My research is funded by the Norway - Romania EEA Research Programme operated by MECS-ANCSI PO under the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014, Project Contract No. 2SEE/2014.