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Article

Evaluation of the Mitragynine Content, Levels of Toxic Metals and the Presence of Microbes in Kratom Products Purchased in the Western Suburbs of Chicago

1
Department of Pharmacology, College of Graduate Studies, Midwestern University, 555 31st Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
2
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Graduate Studies, Midwestern University, 555 31st Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA
3
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy Glendale, Midwestern University, 19555 N. 59th Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5512; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155512
Received: 30 June 2020 / Revised: 23 July 2020 / Accepted: 27 July 2020 / Published: 30 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxicity of Medicinal Plants and Herbal Supplements)
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa, Korth) is a tree-like plant that is indigenous to Southeast Asia. Kratom leaf products have been used in traditional folk medicine for their unique combination of stimulant and opioid-like effects. Kratom is being increasingly used in the West for its reputed benefits in the treatment of pain, depression and opioid use disorder. Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control have raised concerns regarding the contamination of some kratom products with toxic metals (Pb and Ni) and microbes such as Salmonella. To further explore this issue, eight different kratom products were legally purchased from various “head”/”smoke” shops in the Western Suburbs of Chicago and then tested for microbial burden, a panel of metals (Ni, Pb, Cr, As, Hg, Cd), and levels of the main psychoactive alkaloid mitragynine. All of the samples contained significant, but variable, levels of mitragynine (3.9–62.1 mg/g), indicating that the products were, in fact, derived from kratom. All but two of the samples tested positive for the presence of various microbes including bacteria and fungi. However, none of the samples tested positive for Salmonella. Seven products showed significant levels of Ni (0.73–7.4 µg/g), Pb (0.16–1.6 µg/g) and Cr (0.21–5.7 µg/g) while the other product was negative for metals. These data indicate that many kratom products contain variable levels of mitragynine and can contain significant levels of toxic metals and microbes. These findings highlight the need for more stringent standards for the production and sale of kratom products. View Full-Text
Keywords: kratom; microbes; Salmonella; metals; Pb; Ni; Cr kratom; microbes; Salmonella; metals; Pb; Ni; Cr
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MDPI and ACS Style

Prozialeck, W.C.; Edwards, J.R.; Lamar, P.C.; Plotkin, B.J.; Sigar, I.M.; Grundmann, O.; Veltri, C.A. Evaluation of the Mitragynine Content, Levels of Toxic Metals and the Presence of Microbes in Kratom Products Purchased in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5512. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155512

AMA Style

Prozialeck WC, Edwards JR, Lamar PC, Plotkin BJ, Sigar IM, Grundmann O, Veltri CA. Evaluation of the Mitragynine Content, Levels of Toxic Metals and the Presence of Microbes in Kratom Products Purchased in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(15):5512. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155512

Chicago/Turabian Style

Prozialeck, Walter C., Joshua R. Edwards, Peter C. Lamar, Balbina J. Plotkin, Ira M. Sigar, Oliver Grundmann, and Charles A. Veltri. 2020. "Evaluation of the Mitragynine Content, Levels of Toxic Metals and the Presence of Microbes in Kratom Products Purchased in the Western Suburbs of Chicago" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 15: 5512. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155512

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