The Reference Materials Program is one component of ODS's
Dietary Supplements Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program. ODS collaborates with the
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
and other Federal government agencies to produce reference materials and
calibration standards relevant to dietary supplements.
Goals: Well-characterized reference materials provide academia, government, and industry with tools that will lead
to the improved quality of supplements. Improved quality ultimately reduces public health risks that could be associated with these products.
Reference materials will also advance research and development, and facilitate commerce.
Standard Reference Materials: NIST
Standard Reference Materials® (SRMs) are produced in suites (e.g., source plant, extract, and finished product) that
represent different analytical challenges. The constituents in these reference materials are determined by multiple independent methods
with measurements performed by NIST and collaborating laboratories. The methods utilized different sample extraction and cleanup steps,
as well as different instrumental analytical techniques and approaches to quantification.
SRMs are intended for use:
- in method development,
- as control materials to support the measurement of constituents in other similar products,
- to ensure that laboratory analyses of ingredients and finished products are accurate,
- to help manufacturers and researchers of dietary supplements characterize raw materials to prevent the use of contaminated ingredients,
- to assist manufacturers in self-assessment of consistency and quality in finished products, and
- to provide a foundation to which label information can be linked.
Calibration Standards: The term calibration standard is used when an
absolute value is measured. Calibration standards, which are single chemical entities, are developed to ensure high purity and uniformity
for specific analytes (e.g., isoflavones, anthocyanins, flavanols). Natural products, or dietary supplements derived from natural raw
materials, are chemically complex. Therefore, these reference materials may not be appropriate for
calibrating measurement systems.
These calibration standards are used:
- for construction of calibration curves for quantitative analysis,
- for confirming analyte identity, and
- in calibrating measuring systems.
Availability of SRMs and Calibration Standards: The ODS Web site provides information on those materials currently
available to the public through NIST. At this time, only those materials developed under the sponsorship of ODS are listed. Separate
lists show that materials are now available and those that are being developed.
NIST SRM Web Catalog: The NIST SRM home page
provides a search engine for its SRM Web catalog. You may search on broad terms (e.g., "dietary supplement"), the ingredient of interest
(e.g., "bitter orange"), or specific analytes (e.g., "carotenoid"). A search of "carotenoid," for example, may find carrot extract in oil
and other foods, and carotenoids in human serum. The search feature will help you identify additional materials not mentioned on the
ODS Web site.