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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 251304, 6 pages
Research Article

Traceability and Quality Control in Traditional Chinese Medicine: From Chemical Fingerprint to Two-Dimensional Barcode

1State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Macau
2Information Technology College of Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai Campus, Zhuhai 519087, China
3Research Center for Pharmacognosy, Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China

Received 20 June 2014; Revised 27 August 2014; Accepted 1 October 2014

Academic Editor: Shilin Chen

Copyright © 2015 Yong Cai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chemical fingerprinting is currently a widely used tool that enables rapid and accurate quality evaluation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). However, chemical fingerprints are not amenable to information storage, recognition, and retrieval, which limit their use in Chinese medicine traceability. In this study, samples of three kinds of Chinese medicines were randomly selected and chemical fingerprints were then constructed by using high performance liquid chromatography. Based on chemical data, the process of converting the TCM chemical fingerprint into two-dimensional code is presented; preprocess and filtering algorithm are also proposed aiming at standardizing the large amount of original raw data. In order to know which type of two-dimensional code (2D) is suitable for storing data of chemical fingerprints, current popular types of 2D codes are analyzed and compared. Results show that QR Code is suitable for recording the TCM chemical fingerprint. The fingerprint information of TCM can be converted into data format that can be stored as 2D code for traceability and quality control.