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Distinguished Scientist John Cardellina Joins ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program (BAP) is pleased to announce the addition of John H. Cardellina II, PhD, as Chief Technical Consultant and Associate Editor of the BAP. Dr. Cardellina is a renowned, highly respected natural products and botanicals expert. He most recently worked in research and development at McCormick & Co., Inc., where he conducted research on spice and herb quality and the development of new flavors.

The BAP is an international educational joint venture led by three nonprofit organizations: the American Botanical Council (ABC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the University of Mississippi.

“I am excited to rejoin this important effort by ABC, AHP, and NCNPR,” said Dr. Cardellina. “Adulteration is a growing problem in the supplement and food/flavor industries. Whether intentional or unintentional, adulteration is a serious disservice to consumers. I believe the Botanical Adulterants Program is a vitally important step in combating this problem, while simultaneously educating manufacturers, suppliers, researchers, and other interested parties.”

From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Cardellina served as an expert chemist in the Screening Technologies Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Prior to that, he was vice president of botanical science and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a leading industry trade group. Dr. Cardellina developed CRN’s comprehensive botanicals agenda, intended to guide member companies in the manufacture of safe, high-quality, beneficial herbal products. Before joining CRN in April 1998, he was a senior investigator and head of the Natural Products Chemistry Section of the NCI’s Laboratory of Drug Discovery, Research and Development.

Dr. Cardellina has published more than 195 scientific papers in peer-reviewed professional journals and has lectured extensively on issues related to natural products research and botanical products. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP), for which he served as president from 2000 to 2001. Dr. Cardellina is on ABC’s scientific advisory board and is chair of the board of directors of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and the board of directors of the ASP Foundation.

“John has an impressive knowledge of natural products, and a good understanding of the issues with regard to authentication and the challenges it poses to the dietary supplement industry,” said Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC’s chief science officer and technical director of the Botanical Adulterants Program. “He is a highly respected scientist and expert editor — he currently serves as book review editor of the Journal of Natural Products. It is a privilege to be working with John on the Program.”

In addition to other publications on adulteration of specific botanical ingredients and extracts, Dr. Cardellina will be working on a Lab Guidance Document for analytical methods to authenticate so-called “grapefruit seed extract” (GFSE) and to detect synthetic antibacterial compounds that frequently have been found in analyses of GFSE, per an extensive review article published by the Program in HerbalGram #94 in 2012.1

“We are deeply grateful for Dr. Cardellina’s association with the Botanical Adulterants Program,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC and director of the Program. “John was involved previously with the Program in its first year and authored the review of 10 analytical publications showing that grapefruit seed extract is adulterated with synthetic commercial disinfectants. We welcome his extensive experience to help move our Program forward.”

Professor Ikhlas Khan, PhD, associate director of the NCNPR at the University of Mississippi, said, “John is [a] well established authority in natural products. He is a wonderful person, but unwavering when it comes to science and the facts. His unbiased approach towards the issue of adulteration will certainly strengthen the Program.”

According to Roy Upton, director of AHP, “John brings a wealth of expertise and experience from the world of medical research and pharmacognosy. He has been a valued AHP director for several years and his further contributions to the Adulterants Program will be of immense value.”


  1. Cardellina JH. The adulteration of commercial “grapefruit seed extract” with synthetic antimicrobial and disinfectant compounds. HerbalGram. 2012;94:62-66.