Carbon isotope composition as a tool for quality control of herbs, spices and medicinal plants
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Isotope screening is a simple and cheap test for determining the photosynthetic pathway used by plants. The scope of this work was to classify the photosynthetic type of Melissa officinalis L. and Cymbopogon citratus [DC.] Stapf, through studies of the carbon isotope composition (δ13 C), and we are proposing the use of carbon isotope composition results as a tool to control the quality of medicinal plants. For studies of δ 13C (13 C% = [R (sample)/R (standard) - 1] × 10 -3), dried, powdered leaves were analyzed in a mass spectrometer coupled with an elemental analyzer for determining the ratio R (R = 13CO2/12CO2). As results, M. officinalis presented a C3 photosynthetic type, and C. citratus presented a C4 photosynthetic type. The carbon isotope composition from this study can be used as quality control of M. officinalis adulterants.