A paediatrician working in West Africa contacted the Department of Chemistry about analysing traditional African herbal remedies that he suspected had been adulterated with pharmaceuticals as young children in his clinic were showing symptoms consistent with this. We subsequently obtained several samples of the herbal materials and using the advanced capabilities in the AMS set about determining which, if any, adulterants were present. The approach was to use the literature to build a database of known adulterants and then working with an Agilent applications specialist to use sophisticated chemometrics to carry out a comparison of the different herbal samples. A number of possible ‘hits’ were identified and we are now in the process of confirming their identity, which will then hopefully guide treatment. 

Trevor FerrisDr Trevor Ferris, Facility Manager at the Suite said: “This has been a very exciting project and I am delighted that we have been able to identify potential adulterants for further analysis. The facilities within the Agilent Measurement Suite allowed me to translate my forensic science skills into a detailed and prompt response to the initial enquiry, and I look forward to working with new clients in the future.”