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Open AccessArticle

Mass-Sensitive Sensing of Melamine in Dairy Products with Molecularly Imprinted Polymers: Matrix Challenges

University of Vienna, Faculty of Chemistry, Department of Physical Chemistry, Währinger Straße 42, Vienna 1090, Austria
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Sensors 2019, 19(10), 2366; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19102366
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 21 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Chemical Sensors)
Food standards and quality control are important means to ensure public health. In the last decade, melamine has become a rather notorious example of food adulteration: Spiking products with low-cost melamine in order to feign high amino acid content exploits the lack in specificity of the established Kjeldahl method for determining organic nitrogen. This work discusses the responses of a sensor based on quartz crystal microbalances (QCM) coated with molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) to detect melamine in real life matrices both in a selective and a sensitive manner. Experiments in pure milk revealed no significant sensor responses. However, sensor response increased to a frequency change of −30Hz after diluting the matrix ten times. Systematic evaluation of this effect by experiments in melamine solutions containing bovine serum albumin (BSA) and casein revealed that proteins noticeably influence sensor results. The signal of melamine in water (1600 mg/L) decreases to half of its initial value, if either 1% BSA or casein are present. Higher protein concentrations decrease sensor responses even further. This suggests significant interaction between the analyte and proteins in general. Follow-up experiments revealed that centrifugation of tagged serum samples results in a significant loss of sensor response, thereby further confirming the suspected interaction between protein and melamine. View Full-Text
Keywords: melamine; protein; bovine serum albumin (BSA); molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP); quartz crystal microbalances (QCM) melamine; protein; bovine serum albumin (BSA); molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP); quartz crystal microbalances (QCM)
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Zeilinger, M.; Sussitz, H.; Cuypers, W.; Jungmann, C.; Lieberzeit, P. Mass-Sensitive Sensing of Melamine in Dairy Products with Molecularly Imprinted Polymers: Matrix Challenges. Sensors 2019, 19, 2366.

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