Introduction: The plant Pueraria candollei var. mirifica (Airy Shaw & Suvat.) Niyomdham (PM), known by its common Thai name as white Kwao Krua, is sometimes misidentified because it presents similar botanical characteristics to those of Butea superba (red Kwao Krua). The phytochemicals in PM are phytoestrogens in the class of isoflavonoids, but Butea superba contains flavonoids that exhibit androgenic and antiestrogen effects. Objectives: This research aims to develop a simple analytical method for identification and to differentiate PM from red Kwao Krua and other Pueraria species. Methods: A gold nanoparticle-based immunochromatographic assay (ICA) was developed for the detection of kwakhurin (Kwa), a unique compound found in PM. The parameters, including sensitivity, accuracy, precision, and specificity, were validated. All samples were analyzed using ICA and high-performance liquid chromatography with UV detector (HPLC-UV). The results of the two methods were compared for consistency checking. Results: The cutoff limit of Kwa detection was 160 ng/mL, which was lower than in the HPLC-UV method. The repeatability and reproducibility of the ICA preparation and assembly showed high precision. The cross-reactivity to related isoflavonoids was less than 0.32%, which implied high specificity of the ICA for Kwa. Moreover, false-positive and false-negative results from other plant extracts were not observed. Conclusion: The developed ICA is applicable for distinguishing PM from red Kwao Krua and other Pueraria species. This simple analytical method can be applied for the identification of raw PM materials in the industrial and agricultural sectors.
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