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J Ginseng Res. 2017 Jul;41(3):339-346. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2016.06.006. Epub 2016 Jul 21.

Converting Panax ginseng DNA and chemical fingerprints into two-dimensional barcode.

Cai Y1,2, Li P1, Li XW1,3, Zhao J1, Chen H2, Yang Q4, Hu H1,4.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macao.
Information Technology College of Beijing Normal University Zhuhai Campus, Zhuhai City, China.
Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.
State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.



In this study, we investigated how to convert the Panax ginseng DNA sequence code and chemical fingerprints into a two-dimensional code. In order to improve the compression efficiency, GATC2Bytes and digital merger compression algorithms are proposed.


HPLC chemical fingerprint data of 10 groups of P. ginseng from Northeast China and the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) sequence code as the DNA sequence code were ready for conversion. In order to convert such data into a two-dimensional code, the following six steps were performed: First, the chemical fingerprint characteristic data sets were obtained through the inflection filtering algorithm. Second, precompression processing of such data sets is undertaken. Third, precompression processing was undertaken with the P. ginseng DNA (ITS2) sequence codes. Fourth, the precompressed chemical fingerprint data and the DNA (ITS2) sequence code were combined in accordance with the set data format. Such combined data can be compressed by Zlib, an open source data compression algorithm. Finally, the compressed data generated a two-dimensional code called a quick response code (QR code).


Through the abovementioned converting process, it can be found that the number of bytes needed for storing P. ginseng chemical fingerprints and its DNA (ITS2) sequence code can be greatly reduced. After GTCA2Bytes algorithm processing, the ITS2 compression rate reaches 75% and the chemical fingerprint compression rate exceeds 99.65% via filtration and digital merger compression algorithm processing. Therefore, the overall compression ratio even exceeds 99.36%. The capacity of the formed QR code is around 0.5k, which can easily and successfully be read and identified by any smartphone.


P. ginseng chemical fingerprints and its DNA (ITS2) sequence code can form a QR code after data processing, and therefore the QR code can be a perfect carrier of the authenticity and quality of P. ginseng information. This study provides a theoretical basis for the development of a quality traceability system of traditional Chinese medicine based on a two-dimensional code.


Panax ginseng; internal transcribed spacer 2; quality traceability of traditional Chinese medicine; quick response code; traditional Chinese medicine chemical fingerprints

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