University of Miami researchers in Florida have developed a fast test to detect melamine adulteration in milk. Melamine, a plastic product, was found in pet food two years ago and in milk in China, where babies died from drinking it. Because of its high nitrogen content, melamine appears to raise the protein content of a food but also causes health problems and even death.
The Florida test takes 15 minutes. The casein portion of the milk is removed first because it interferes with melamine detection. Gold nano-particles are added and, if melamine is present, the colour of the solution changes to blue from red within seconds. Adding Cyanuric acid, which also reacts to melamine, makes the test more specific to the product.