SCREENING METHODS: Comparison between(1)

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In vitro assays are useful while working with crude extracts. However, with herbal materials several issues come up. For example, what dose to use, what extract to use and what cut-offs to use? Doing viability assays (using Trypan Blue exclusion or MTT assays) help in deciding upper cut-offs, however, it is not fail-safe to lead to potentially active concentrations. Many herbal extracts are not water soluble and therefore a solvent that is not toxic to cells have to be selected and this has to be used as a control.

Extrapolation from an in vivo dose helps in identifying the possibly effective dose – but with crude extracts acceptable cut-offs must be predetermined. If the extract is coloured, then interpretation of results when being estimated colourimetrically has to be done cautiously. Incorporation of appropriate controls is also essential to confirm robustness of the assay system. If the substance is not soluble and we use suspensions, this can seriously interfere with assays e.g. when we use herbo-mineral preparations. Bioassays are expensive and need sophisticated instrumentation and expert personnel.

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