Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Simple Lasers Used To Detect Melamine In Baby Formula

Date:
May 1, 2009
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
With equipment readily available to health officials and businesses, a researcher has found a way to detect trace amounts of melamine in infant formula.

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.

Related Articles


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. High doses of melamine were associated with cancer in some animals, and it is especially dangerous for infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We have found detection methods that are inexpensive and do not require a lot of the product or time for sampling," said Mauer. "Any company could do this itself. Police agencies, state departments of health and many colleges have this type of equipment."

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.

"The melamine structure is very different than the formula, so you can see differences in the spectrum," Mauer said. "Because they are so different, we can detect down to one part per million of melamine."

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.

"If someone wanted to build a calibration model to detect melamine in their products, all they'd have to do is collect the spectrum of their product, add known quantities of melamine to their product, then collect those spectra and compare them," Mauer said. "Thumbprint analysis is basically the same thing. We can't see the differences with our own eyes, but software programs can."

Mauer and her four graduate students found the melamine detection process after she received a new software program that she wanted the students to become familiar with. Mauer challenged them to use spectroscopy to detect melamine, thinking they might be able to do so at high concentrations.

After successful tries at higher concentrations, Mauer and the students kept lowering the concentration of melamine until they reached one part per million.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mauer et al. Melamine Detection in Infant Formula Powder Using Near- and Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2009; 090422153435093 DOI: 10.1021/jf900587m

Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Simple Lasers Used To Detect Melamine In Baby Formula." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430161236.htm>.
Purdue University. (2009, May 1). Simple Lasers Used To Detect Melamine In Baby Formula. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430161236.htm
Purdue University. "Simple Lasers Used To Detect Melamine In Baby Formula." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430161236.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins