Lasers used to detect melamine

Source of Article:  http://www.ift.org/news_bin/news/news_home.shtml

 

4/30/2009-With equipment readily available to health officials and businesses, a Purdue University researcher has found a way to detect trace amounts of melamine in infant formula. Using infrared lasers and light spectroscopy methods, Lisa Mauer, an Associate Professor of food science, was able to detect melamine in baby formula at one part per million in about five minutes or less. Melamine, a synthetic chemical used in plastics and other products, has been found in baby formula and other milk-based products imported from China.

Mauer obtained unadulterated samples of powdered formula and measured the samples using near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy techniques. Infrared laser beams reflected off the sample and toward a detector, which calculated how much of the laser's energy was absorbed by the sample and created an absorbance spectrum that was unique to the sample.
The same data were collected for pure melamine. When the formula was mixed with melamine and analyzed, the new spectrum was compared to that of the unadulterated formula, showing the concentration of melamine in the sample.

Federal guidelines allow for only one part per million of melamine in infant formula and up to two and a half parts per million in other products. Having an inexpensive and quick test would make it easier to test imported or domestically made products for melamine.

The research is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Abstract

 

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