Effects of the Adulteration Technique on the Near-Infrared Detection of Melamine in Milk Powder.J Agric Food Chem. 2017 Jul 19; 65(28):5799-5809.JA
The United States Pharmacopeial Convention has led an international collaborative project to develop a toolbox of screening methods and reference standards for the detection of milk powder adulteration. During the development of adulterated milk powder reference standards, blending methods used to combine melamine and milk had unanticipated strong effects on the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum of melamine. The prominent absorbance band at 1468 nm of melamine was retained when it was dry-blended with skim milk powder but disappeared in wet-blended mixtures, where spray-dried milk powder samples were prepared from solution. Analyses using polarized light microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, dielectric relaxation spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and mass spectrometry indicated that wet blending promoted reversible and early Maillard reactions with lactose that are responsible for differences in melamine NIR spectra between wet- and dry-blended samples. Targeted detection estimates based solely on dry-blended reference standards are likely to overestimate NIR detection capabilities in wet-blended samples as a result of previously overlooked matrix effects arising from changes in melamine hydrogen-bonding status, covalent complexation with lactose, and the lower but more homogeneous melamine local concentration distribution produced in wet-blended samples. Techniques used to incorporate potential adulterants can determine the suitability of milk reference standards for use with rapid detection methods.