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J Sci Food Agric. 2016 Mar 30;96(5):1571-9. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7257. Epub 2015 Jun 16.

Dynamic variation of bioactive compounds and aflatoxins in contaminated Radix Astragali during extraction process.

Hu Y1, Kong W1, Luo H1,2, Zhao L1,3, Yang M1.

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Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, 100193, China.
School of Pharmacy, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, 611137, China.
Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun, 130118, China.



Although increasing attention has been paid to the health threat caused by mycotoxins in commodities such as food or medicines, mycotoxin transfer processes from crude material to products have raised little concern so far. Radix Astragali is a commonly used edible and medicinal herbal plant that is susceptible to contamination with aflatoxins from Aspergillus flavus. There have been no studies on mycotoxin transfer into pharmaceutical preparations or derivative products.


To facilitate the aflatoxin reduction and bioactivity retention, the dynamic variations of aflatoxins as well as herbal compounds, namely calycosin-7-glucoside, astragaloside and formononetin, in Radix Astragali contaminated by A. flavus during water decoction and ethanol refluxing treatments were evaluated simultaneously by an ultra-fast liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole linear ion trap mass spectrometry method. After the extraction processes, although the amount of alfatoxins was reduced remarkably, aflatoxin residuals in preparation still exceed recommended limits, manifesting the great need to establish a limit for aflatoxins in herbal extractions or derivative products. Meanwhile, due to the hydrolysis of glucoside, water decoction period should be no longer than 4 h.


This investigation would benefit from the determination of the dynamic variation of aflatoxins in infected herbs in preparation treatments, in order to further develop aflatoxin limits in herbal preparations.


Radix Astragali; UFLC-QTrap-MS/MS; aflatoxins; dynamic variation; reduce rate

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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