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A Molecularly Imprinted Polymer-Based Thermal Sensor for the Selective Detection of Melamine in Milk Samples

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Marloes PeetersORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


In recent years, melamine-sensing technologies have increasingly gained attention, mainly due to the misuse of the molecule as an adulterant in milk and other foods. Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are ideal candidates for the recognition of melamine in real-life samples. The prepared MIP particles were incorporated into a thermally conductive layer via micro-contact deposition and its response towards melamine was analyzed using the heat-transfer method (HTM). The sensor displayed an excellent selectivity when analyzing the thermal response to other chemicals commonly found in foods, and its applicability in food safety was demonstrated after evaluation in untreated milk samples, demonstrating a limit of detection of 6.02 μM. As the EU/US melamine legal limit in milk of 2.5 mg/kg falls within the linear range of the sensor, it can offer an innovative solution for routine screening of milk samples in order to detect adulteration with melamine. The results shown in this work thus demonstrate the great potential of a low-cost thermal platform for the detection of food adulteration in complex matrices.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Caldara M, Lowdon J, Royakkers J, Peeters M, Cleij T, Dilien H, Eersels K, van Grinsven B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Foods

Year: 2022

Volume: 11

Issue: 18

Print publication date: 19/09/2022

Online publication date: 19/09/2023

Acceptance date: 15/09/2022

Date deposited: 22/09/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2304-8158

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/foods11182906


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