Nutraceuticals: Challenging real-world samples for handheld Raman

Botanicals are a well-known active ingredient within the nutraceuticals market. They are plants used for their medicinal and therapeutic properties.

Nutraceuticals are an alternative to typical pharmaceutical products. They are promoted to provide health benefits and basic nutritional values. This market is not as heavily regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in comparison to the pharmaceutical drug market. However, the FDA does require nutraceuticals manufacturers to follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). GMP requirements are to ensure identity, purity, quality, strength and, composition prior to consumer use. Handheld Raman can accomplish identify testing of raw materials.

Botanicals are commonly colored samples, when measuring their Raman spectrum; the samples generate high fluorescence and may not be suitable for testing with a typical handheld Raman system using a 785 nm laser. Botanical samples were tested with the Raman handheld device NanoRam®-1064 because the colorants in the botanicals produce high fluorescence that overwhelms typical handheld Raman 785.

A typical handheld Raman device with a 785 nm laser results in no distinguishable peak (Fig. 1, red trace) and is unable to identify a sample of grape seed extract. The NanoRam-1064 (blue spectrum) is able to provide some distinguishing peaks for the grape seed extract sample using 10% of the maximum laser power (~42 mW). Although the spectrum still exhibits a strong fluorescence background, the visible peaks can be used to make an identification with the NanoRam-1064 (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Raman spectra of Grape seed extract collected with 785nm and 1064 nm laser excitations.
Figure 2. Raman spectra of Rhodiola rosea extract, Pomegranate extract and, Vitamin K2 with 1064 nm laser excitations

The NanoRam-1064 is a handheld Raman device that addresses the needs of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies with rigid regulations. The NanoRam-1064 is able to minimize fluorescence in raw material identification while maintaining sample integrity. Botanical samples with varying levels of fluorescence were able to be analyzed with robust identification.

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