Originally from Peru, maca is a plant that has been used for thousands of years. It grows in the High Andes, around 4000 meters above sea level, which brings it´s specificity. Only the roots are consumed and gave it the name of Peruvian viagra because they are used for libido stimulation.It has been cultivated more intensively since the 2000s to respond to the increasing demand in food supplement which trigger the export increase all over the world. It is therefore a relatively new plant, which explains why few scientific studies mention it. For the actors who establish control plans for their plant raw materials, it will therefore be necessary to know the tests to be carried out to guarantee that it is the right species but also to assess its quality.
Some active ingredients are mentioned in the literature, some of which relate to the Brassicaceae family (such as glucosinolates) but others turn out to be more specific (macamides). These compounds have been chosen to be monitored in order to be able to establish an evaluation of the quality of the products.As in many cases, laboratories are often faced with the lack of availability of reference substances (essential to carry out the assay) and this is also the case in this study.To overcome this problem and be able to offer this analysis to industrial players using maca, BotaniCert has purified one of the macamides from maca tubers, N-benzylhexadecanamide (or N-Benzylpalmitamide).
Dosage of macamides
An HPLC-UV/MS study was launched on numerous samples of maca powder / dry extracts in order to identify the various derivatives of the family.
A large number of derivatives have been identified using their MS fragmentations, their molar masses are listed below:
• 382 g.mol-1
• 384 g.mol-1
• 386 g.mol-1
• 368 g.mol-1
• 370 g.mol-1
• 346 g.mol-1
• 372 g.mol-1
• 374 g.mol-1
All these derivatives can be dosed in equivalence of the substance N-benzylhexadecanamide to obtain a result close to the reality.
This analysis therefore constitutes a first approach for the evaluation of the quality of a sample of Maca roots.
Maca is currently a highly commercialized material and different qualities are emerging on the market. The evaluation of the quality of the different samples is key to choose the best possible material and to set aside the samples that are too diluted.
How to ensure the quality of your Lepidium meyenii samples?
Characterize the species by an appropriate analysis (HPLC) and assess the quality of the samples by determining the macamide content by the HPLC-UV/MS method.