Mid Infrared Spectroscopy and Multivariate Analysis Evaluation of Adulteration in Whey Protein Powder
Mid infrared (MIR) spectroscopy was combined with multivariate approaches Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Partial Least Squares (PLS) regression to assess modifications in spectral profile of whey protein concentrate (WPC) powder due to changes in formulation level using caffeine, creatine and lactose, simulating fraud. Adulterations were made by replacing WPC in different levels from 5 to 50% (w/w - 5% steps) with three adulterants in separate. The spectra comparison of the samples allowed the identification of peaks associated to characteristic chemical bonds of each adulterant. PCA was carried out and 89% of the total variability of the spectral data was explained by three principal components, which allowed the confirmation of variables influencing each sample mixture and validating the spectral observations. Above 20% decrease in WPC content (20% adulteration), it was possible to differentiate all the three substances used. Predictions of percentage of WPC substitution were made through PLS regressions. The best prediction models were: lactose > creatine > caffeine. However, predictions resulted in overall good accuracy, low relative errors and coefficients of determination of fitting of calibration and validation curves above 0.97 in all cases. Therefore, techniques employed here aid the quality assessment of food products as alternative analytical tools.