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Barcoding and metabarcoding: high-performance tools for the cosmetics, nutraceutics and health industry


*Corresponding author
DNA Gensee, Le Bourget du Lac, France


Nowadays, authentication and traceability are two important values for consumers. They are also increasingly attentive to the origin of the natural raw materials that compose the products they consume. In this context, it’s required to develop the control of raw materials authenticity and their traceability in products. This is particularly true in the cosmetics domain, in which companies need to be more and more transparent with regard to the composition of their products. In recent years, several types of analyses have been developed. In this article, we focus on authentication and traceability using genetic technologies, barcoding and metabarcoding. These methods certify and trace plant species from raw materials to finished products.


For several years, due to the poor image of animal extracts, the use of plant extracts in the cosmetics sector has been increasing. This use is regulated at the supply level to avoid adulteration, fraud or biopiracy problems. In this context, in 1992, the Nagoya protocol was established and governed the rules for the use of plant resources for cosmetics and perfumery sectors (1). The use of plants must be controlled in a rigorous way, due to the great morphological similarity between some closely related plant species. To minimize risks, it is essential to control and check plants origins (2). Many controls are carried out at harvest by botanists that are able to correctly identify local plants. Nevertheless, it is necessary to carry out checks upon receipt of raw material batches. Currently, several techniques have been used for botanical identification, including morphological, chemical and genetic analyses (3) (Figure 1). All techniques are described in Table 1. The first one is morphological evaluation, which is based on the recognition of morphological characteristics (4). However, if the material is a powder, the identification can be ...

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