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Researchers develop new method to detect melamine in milk
Date:4/1/2010

CORAL GABLES FL (April 1, 2010)-- University of Miami assistant professor in the College of Engineering, Na Li and her collaborators have developed a fast, economical and easy method to detect melamine in milk. Melamine is the compound found in contaminated pet food and in tainted dairy products from China in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The laced dairy products were responsible for sickening thousands of people, especially children. The situation caused recalls of Chinese dairy products all over the world.

Monitoring melamine-tainted products continues to be a worldwide concern. Melamine is an industrial substance commonly used in plastics and fertilizers. Since Melamine is high in nitrogen, when added to foods it can make the products appear higher in protein value during standard testing. However, when ingested, the chemical can cause serious health problems and in some cases death.

The new method is described in the study titled "Rapid Detection of Melamine in Whole Milk Mediated by Unmodified Gold Nanoparticles," published online this week by the journal Applied Physics Letters and available at: http://link.aip.org/link/?APL/96/133702

This study develops a facile and accurate approach towards detection of melamine utilizing gold nanoparticles and a dual color and precipitation test. The complete detection methodology is completed in less than 15 minutes.

"Current methods of melamine detection in milk are costly and time consuming," says Na Li, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, at the University of Miami and senior corresponding author of this study. "Our work represents a significant step towards the rapid detection of melamine, which addresses a critical global issue."

The researchers first step is to separate the casein-based milk component, which can interfere with melamine detection. Next, they add gold nanoparticles to
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Contact: Karla Hernandez
khernandez@miami.edu
305-284-1603
University of Miami
Source:Eurekalert  

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