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Raman spectroscopy as an effective screening method for detecting adulteration of milk with small nitrogen-rich molecules and sucrose

Nieuwoudt, M.K., Holroyd, S.E., McGoverin, C.M., Simpson, M.C., Williams, D.E.
Journal of dairy science 2016 v.99 no.4 pp. 2520-2536
Raman spectroscopy, adulterated products, ammonium sulfate, dairy industry, detection limit, dicyandiamide, human resources, laboratory equipment, least squares, melamine, milk, multivariate analysis, screening, sucrose, urea
Adulteration of milk for commercial gain is acknowledged as a serious issue facing the dairy industry. Several analytical techniques can be used to detect adulteration but they often require time-consuming sample preparation, expensive laboratory equipment, and highly skilled personnel. Here we show that Raman spectroscopy provides a simple, selective, and sensitive method for screening milk, specifically for small nitrogen-rich compounds, such as melamine, urea, ammonium sulfate, dicyandiamide, and for sucrose. Univariate and multivariate statistical methods were used to determine limits of detection and quantification from Raman spectra of milk spiked with 50 to 1,000mg/L of the N-rich compounds and 0.25 to 4% sucrose. Partial least squares (PLS) calibration provided limit of detection minimum thresholds <200mg/L (0.02%) for the 4 N-rich compounds and <0.8% for sucrose, without the need for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. The results show high reproducibility (7% residual standard deviation) and 100% efficiency for screening of milk for these adulterants.