Portable and low-cost device to measure milk fat using novel sensor in the works
A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has pioneered the world’s first fluorescent sensor – called Milk Orange – that rapidly identifies the presence of fat in milk. When the light purplish sensor is mixed with a milk sample, it transmits fluorescent signals of orange hues instantly under light when fat is detected, with brighter shades when the concentration of fat in the milk sample increases.
National University of Singapore
A team of NUS researchers, led by Prof Chang Young-Tae, has developed the world’s first fluorescent sensor – called Milk Orange – that rapidly identifies the presence of fat in milk.
This novel sensor, developed by a research team led by Professor Chang Young-Tae of the Department of Chemistry at the NUS Faculty of Science, is being applied to the development of a device for rapid on-site measurement of milk fat, which is especially useful in areas such as dairy farms in developing countries. This device could also help enhance the current milk quality control process, particularly in resource-limited regions.
The findings of this study were first published in the journal Chemical Communications on 8 July 2014.
Measuring milk fat and quality
More than six billion people around the world consume milk regularly, making milk a major agricultural product in many countries. It is also a multi-billion dollar industry. As fat content is associated with the levels of protein and vitamins in milk, it is directly correlated with the nutritional and marketing value of milk.
For many small scale dairy farmers who sell their cows’ milk to large organisations that produce dairy products, there is a need for an accurate and rapid device which is handy yet inexpensive, to detect the level of fat present in the milk. Such a device helps the farmers segregate and price the milk for sale, as well as to enhance the milk quality control process.
Prevailing milk fat measurement methods include infrared analysis, lactometers, and Gerber’s method. Infrared methods are very complex and expensive, but extremely fast. Lactometers are simple and economical, but do not reveal the exact amount of fat. Gerber’s method, on the other hand, provides accurate readings, but requires complicated handling due to the use corrosive sulfuric acid, making it unfavourable for untrained workers.
To address this technological gap, the NUS research team sought to develop a method that is low-cost, easy to use and efficient.
Milk Orange: A novel fluorescent sensor to detect milk fat
Fluorescent dyes have been widely used as sensors for analytical purposes because of their high sensitivity, fast response time and technical simplicity.
Under the supervision of Prof Chang, the research team screened more than 10,000 fluorescent dyes that are part of the Diversity Oriented Fluorescence Library (DOFL), which was developed by Prof Chang over the last decade.
The researchers successfully identified a light purplish non-toxic compound which demonstrated remarkable fluorescence signal increments of orange hues with increasing concentrations of milk fat under light. The team conducted further experiments to ensure that the compound, coined Milk Orange, responds to fat, and not to other substances in milk such as proteins.
To explore Milk Orange’s applicability, the team tested it in various milk samples which are readily available in local supermarkets. A total of 16 types of milk from seven brands were tested. The experiments concluded that Milk Orange can be applied universally and achieve instant results.
Portable, convenient and inexpensive milk fat device to measure milk fat in the works
With Milk Orange proving to be efficient in detecting the level of fat in different types of milk, Prof Chang and his team are now developing a portable, convenient and inexpensive detector for rapid on-the-spot milk fat measurement. They are also planning to set-up a spin-off company to commercialise this technology. The team looks forward to working with milk production and processing companies to apply the technology towards improving the current milk quality control process.
Phone: +65 6516 5399
Carolyn Fong | newswise
Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University
Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences