Detection of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in jamu available on the Indonesian market and accompanying safety assessment for human consumption

Suparmi Suparmi*, Patrick P.J. Mulder, Ivonne M.C.M. Rietjens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The occurrence and accompanying risks of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) in Indonesian jamu were evaluated. PAs were detected in 34 out of 35 jamu containing PA-producing botanicals, in the range of 12.3–235,376 μg/kg. A total PA level of 5.9–3,421 μg/kg was found in 17 out of 23 jamu made of non-PA-producing botanicals pointing to contamination with PA-producing plants. Short-time consumption of jamu is unlikely to result in acute toxic effects, although one sample would exceed an intake of 10 μg PA/kg bw/day which may cause hepatic veno-occlusive disease (HVOD) in humans. The risk assessment for the genotoxic and carcinogenic potential of PAs revealed Margin of Exposure (MOE) values below 10,000 for 27 out of all samples analysed (46.6%), indicating a priority for risk management when assuming daily lifelong consumption. Assuming consumption for two weeks every year during a lifetime, and using Haber's rule, 13 out of 35 jamu samples containing PA-producing botanicals (37%) still pose a priority, while the jamu consisting of non-PA-producing botanicals would be of low priority (MOE>10,000). This study provides data that can support risk management actions in Indonesia to minimize the potential health risk for jamu consumers due to the occurrence of toxic PAs in these products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111230
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020



  • Contamination
  • Jamu
  • Margin of exposure
  • Pyrrolizidine alkaloids
  • Risk assessment

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