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Simple Test Developed To Detect Hazardous Food Contaminant Melamine

April 1, 2010: 09:51 AM EST
Melamine – an industrial compound used in plastics and fertilizers and found in 2008 in tainted dairy products from China – sickened thousands of people, especially children, leading to a global recall of Chinese dairy products. High in nitrogen, melamine was added to foods to make them appear higher in protein value during testing. To combat the problem, US researchers have developed a quick, cheap and simple way to detect melamine in milk. The new method uses gold nanoparticles and a dual color and precipitation test that takes less than 15 minutes, according to the researchers. The interaction between the gold nanoparticles and melamine causes a dramatic color change. The researchers hope to develop a simple commercial kit that can be used by anyone, anywhere to detect melamine in food.
Fang Wei, Robert Lam, Stacy Cheng, Steven Lu, Dean Ho, and Na Li, "Rapid Detection of Melamine in Whole Milk Mediated by Unmodified Gold Nanoparticles", Applied Physics Letters, April 01, 2010, © American Institute of Physics
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