The value of milk on the open market is linked to its protein content, and standard methods for protein analysis rely on a simple nitrogen assay, with the protein concentration inferred from the nitrogen content. Consequently, the addition of chemicals rich in nitrogen, such as urea, can artificially increase the apparent protein content and thus the price demanded. Urea occurs naturally in milk and is typically present at levels of about 0.02% - 0.05%. Higher levels of urea in milk are present only in cases of adulteration. Cane sugar is another known milk adulterant used to increase its carbohydrate content and weight. This allows extra water to be added into the milk without detection from a standard lactometer test for milk quality. NIR spectroscopy coupled with PerkinElmer’s Adulterant Screen™ is shown here to be capable of detecting adulterants intentionally or accidentally added to milk.
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