Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PAs) in Ispaghula Husk (Psyllium Husk) Quality Control

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Product Specification

QC/RM information
Product Code Material Matrix Approx. Size


Ispaghula Husk (Psyllium Husk)

30 g


Europine (Eu), Europine-N-oxide (Eu-ox), Heliotrine (Ht), Heliotrine-N-oxide (Ht-ox), Lasiocarpine (Lc), Lasiocarpine-N-oxide (Lc-ox)

Validity Date


Test Description

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are naturally occurring toxins found in a wide variety of plant species. PAs are secondary metabolic products, produced by plants as a defence mechanism against plant eating animals.  An estimated 3 % of all blooming plants may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The content depends on the plant species and plant part, also influenced by factors such as soil conditions and climate.  More than 500 different PAs and corresponding N-oxides are known, some of them being extremely toxic. PAs can enter the food chain through different routes, for example if PA containing plants contaminate crops or if the toxins are naturally incurred in the plant material.

Ispaghula husk (psyllium husk) is a plant-derived source of soluble fibre and can be used as a dietary supplement or added to foods to increase fibre content and to thicken foodstuffs such as smoothies and soups, contamination of the crop with PAs is usually by accidental co-harvesting of PA-producing weeds.

Quality control materials can be effective in tracking improvements in testing ability, and standardising testing practices through staff training measures. Quality control materials can be used as an effective tool for method verification, to ensure standardised and repeatable results across a range of testing environments.

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