Purdue Technology Detects Contaminant in Milk Products

January 22, 2009

A research team at Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) has devised a method that pairs mass spectrometry with a low-temperature plasma ionization probe technique to detect low levels of melamine in milk and milk products.

A research team at Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana) has devised a method that pairs mass spectrometry with a low-temperature plasma ionization probe technique to detect low levels of melamine in milk and milk products.

R. Graham Cooks, Guangming Huang, and Zheng Ouyang took advantage of the recent availability of new ambient ionization methods in which samples are examined in their native environment with little or no preparation.

They were able to detect levels of melamine in the low parts-per-billion range in both milk and milk powder within about 25 seconds. According to new guidelines issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2008, melamine content in dairy products must be limited to 1 part-per-million or less. The team's method is highly sensitive, fast, accurate, and easy to use. It has the added advantage of being able to be done on-site, with no pretreatment of samples required.

The Office of Naval Research Research Tools Program funded this research.