Hyperspectral imaging in the quality control of herbal medicines - the case of neurotoxic Japanese star anise.J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2013 Mar 05; 75:207-13.JP
Illicium verum (Chinese star anise) dried fruit is popularly used as a remedy to treat infant colic. However, instances of life-threatening adverse events in infants have been recorded after use, in some cases due to substitution and/or adulteration of I. verum with Illicium anisatum (Japanese star anise), which is toxic. It is evident that rapid and efficient quality control methods are of utmost importance to prevent re-occurrence of such dire consequences. The potential of short wave infrared (SWIR) hyperspectral imaging and image analysis as a rapid quality control method to distinguish between I. anisatum and I. verum whole dried fruit was investigated. Images were acquired using a sisuChema SWIR hyperspectral pushbroom imaging system with a spectral range of 920-2514 nm. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to the images to reduce the high dimensionality of the data, remove unwanted background and to visualise the data. A classification model with 4 principal components and an R²X_cum of 0.84 and R²Y_cum of 0.81 was developed for the 2 species using partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). The model was subsequently used to accurately predict the identity of I. anisatum (98.42%) and I. verum (97.85%) introduced into the model as an external dataset. The results show that SWIR hyperspectral imaging is an objective and non-destructive quality control method that can be successfully used to identify whole dried fruit of I. anisatum and I. verum. In addition, this method has the potential to detect I. anisatum whole dried fruits within large batches of I. verum through upscaling to a conveyor belt system.