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Category: General
Jan 6, 2017

Screening Liquid Milk for Adulterants with Raman Spectroscopy


The i-Raman® Plus portable Raman spectrometer from B&W Tek, was recently utilised in an Editor’s Choice article published by the Journal of Dairy Science demonstrating the use of portable Raman spectroscopy in screening liquid milk for adulterants. The portability of the system paired with the reliability and reproducibility of this technique opened opportunities for general, reagent-less screening of milk for adulterants at the point of collection.


The i-Raman® Plus portable Raman spectrometer from B&W Tek, was recently utilised in an Editor’s Choice article published by the Journal of Dairy Science demonstrating the use of portable Raman spectroscopy in screening liquid milk for adulterants. The portability of the system paired with the reliability and reproducibility of this technique opened opportunities for general, reagent-less screening of milk for adulterants at the point of collection.

The article was regarding an international health scare in 2008, which occurred due to the adulteration of milk powder and infant formula with melamine. This adulteration resulted in the illness of more than 300,000 people and the deaths of 3 infants. The event also prompted several Fourier transform-Raman and Raman spectroscopic studies to detect melamine and other N-rich compounds such as dicyandiamide (DCD), urea, and ammonium sulfate in milk powder.

The portable Raman mini-spectrometer used in this study was a B&WTek i-Raman® Plus portable Raman spectrometer with a spectral resolution of 4 cm−1, a 785-nm solid state excitation laser (300 mW), and a focusing fibre optic probe.

Raman spectroscopy provides a wealth of information as a molecular vibrational analytical tool because of the rich complexity inherent in its signals. It provides a unique fingerprint of a molecule that is sensitive to both its molecular structure and composition and thus enables identification of different polymorphs and phases of the same compound in different environments. Two particular advantages of Raman over the complementary technique of infrared spectroscopy are very low water signal and generally discrete bands, which improve the sensitivity for analysis of aqueous solutions (e.g., biological fluids and milk) compared with infrared techniques.

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