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  • 1 University of Szeged, H-6720 Szeged, Eötvös u. 6, Hungary
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The radish-like hypocotyls of Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp., Brassicaceae) are widely consumed as common vegetable in the Andean highlands. It is considered as healthy food, rich in carbohydrates and protein, a herbal medicine with a general invigorating reputation and fertility and sexual performance enhancer. The latter is the most popular contemporary application of the plant in Europe. The number and variety of industrial products on the market is increasing. Here we report the development of a simple and reliable analytical protocol for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of maca content of preparations and for the detection of synthetic phosphodiesterase inhibitors. Fourteen products were analysed by the method based on TLC and HPLC-DAD analysis developed by us. Our experiments revealed that beside good-quality products, the majority of the multicomponent preparations did not contain the declared herbal component or the quantity of the measured macamide was very low. Furthermore, one preparation is adulterated with a synthetic phosphodiesterase inhibitor. The presented method is suitable for quality control of L. meyenii products.

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