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Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay Detection of Melamine in Infant Formula and Wheat Food Products

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The adulteration of food products with melamine to inflate the nitrogen content necessitates the establishment of analytical methods that can distinguish between proteinaceous ingredients and such adulterants. The specificity and ability to detect melamine by two commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits were evaluated along with three protocols for sample preparation. Both ELISAs displayed cross-reactivity with ammeline, but neither was able to detect ammelide or cyanuric acid, indicating either a requirement for the 4,6-diamino-1,3,5-triazine structure or inability to bind 1,3,5-triazine-4,6-diones. The limits of detection for melamine in powder infant formula ranged from 0.2 to 3 μg/g depending on the ELISA kit and the method used to prepare the sample. The limits of detection for melamine in liquid infant formula and wheat products were <1 μg/ml and <2.5 μg/g, respectively. The ELISA kits provide an effective alternative for the analysis of samples suspected of containing melamine without relying on extensive sample preparation or expensive instrumentation.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Office of Regulatory Science, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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