February 13, 2018
Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Detecting adulterants in milk with lower cost mid-infrared and Raman spectroscopy

Changwon Lee, Wenbo Wang, Benjamin K. Wilson, Marie Connett, Matthew D. Keller

Adulteration of milk for economic gains is a widespread issue throughout the developing world that can have far-reaching health and nutritional impacts. Milk analysis technologies, such as infrared spectroscopy, can screen for adulteration, but the cost of these technologies has prohibited their use in low resource settings. Recent developments in infrared and Raman spectroscopy hardware have led to commercially available low-cost devices. In this work, we evaluated the performance of two such spectrometers in detecting and quantifying the presence of milk adulterants. Five common adulterants – ammonium sulfate, melamine, sodium bicarbonate, sucrose, and urea, were spiked into five different raw cow and goat milk samples at different concentrations. Collected MIR and Raman spectra were analyzed using partial least squares regression. The limit of detection (LOD) for each adulterant was determined to be in the range of 0.04 to 0.28% (400 to 2800 ppm) using MIR spectroscopy. Raman spectroscopy showed similar LOD’s for some of the adulterants, notably those with strong amine group signals, and slightly higher LOD’s (up to 1.0%) for other molecules. Overall, the LODs were comparable to other spectroscopic milk analyzers on the market, and they were within the economically relevant concentration range of 100 to 4000 ppm. These lower cost spectroscopic devices therefore appear to hold promise for use in low resource settings.

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