Gorse, authentication and traceability model via its DNA


Almost a year ago, we published an article on gorse. This anniversary is an opportunity to review this project carried out in collaboration with Codif Technologie Naturelle and Clarins.

Adulterations and frauds are problems that every player in the cosmetics industry must take into account. This is the case with our partners who have called on DNA Gensee to help them demonstrate the quality of the raw materials and products they work with. Together, we have selected species of interest and among them: Ulex species. For this study, we worked on the raw material, a biomass with barcoding technology and demonstrated traceability in the extract made from this biomass with metabarcoding technologies.


Gorse is a plant native to the Iberian region, it is used for dyeing fabrics. Recently, the olfactometric characteristics of gorse have been revealed and used in cosmetic products. Indeed, isoflavones and flavanones contained in gorse are widely used for their antioxidant properties.

DNA barcoding and metabarcoding

DNA was extracted from samples and genetic markers were amplified. The amplification products were sequenced by the Sanger method (DNA Barcoding) or by Next-Generation Sequencing (DNA Metabarcoding). The sequences obtained were processed with appropriate bioinformatics tools.

More information on these two techniques HERE.


Thanks to barcoding technology, we first studied the genetic phylogeny of biomass, i.e., the identification of a sample and the placement of this sample in the botanical classification on a phylogenetic tree. As shown in Figure 1, the biomasses from Codif (here in red) are classified as Ulex genus. The two samples, Sample 1 and Sample 2, are placed on the same branch as Ulex europaeus subsp. latebracteatus in the tree. This demonstrates the similarity of the genetic sequences analysed and allows us to authenticate these samples as belonging to the species Ulex europaeus subsp. latebracteatus.

Phylogenic tree

Figure 1: Phylogenetic tree of the genus Ulex

In the second part of our work, we used metabarcoding technology on a plant extract. Codif Technologie Naturelle has produced a supercritical CO2 extract from Ulex. Figure 2 shows the unique presence of the genus Ulex in the CO2 extract, and thus indicates the purity of the sample. These results also demonstrate the strict identity between the sequences obtained in the raw material and in the extract. Therefore, metabarcoding analyses allow us to demonstrate the traceability of the raw material in the manufacture of finished products.

Diagram ulex extract

Figure 2: Relative abundance diagram of Ulex extract


The identification and detection of adulteration are now possible thanks to the technologies proposed by DNA Gensee. Barcoding and metabarcoding, used in this article on gorse, are two essential technologies for better authentication and traceability from biomass to extracts obtained from this biomass.

You will find the full article HERE.

For more information contact us on +33 (0)4 79 84 72 16.