Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2017), 409, 1, 213--224 DOI: 10.1007/s00216-016-9987-9
The aim of the study was to develop a method for quantification of cow's whey and whole milk powder in goat or sheep milk products including infant formula. A ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) method was established for simultaneous quantification of four caseins and two major whey proteins by detecting their signature peptides, which were able to act as markers for differentiating goat or sheep from cow whey and whole milk powder in infant formulas. The signature peptides were screened based on the computational prediction by Biolynx software, and confirmed by database searching after analysis of liquid chromatography-quadrupole-time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF-MS). The isotopic-labeled signature peptide was used as internal standard to compensate the matrix effect. The limits of quantification were 0.01-0.05 g/100 g for target proteins. The observed recovery rates ranged from 82.3 to 116.6% and the reproducibility was excellent (RSD ± 12%) at different spiking levels. The RSDs of intra- and inter-day precision were 2.8-6.2 and 3.3-9.8%, respectively. The multiple reaction monitoring method was successfully applied to milk powder with different composition, showing high specificity and accuracy in detection of species involved. The calculating formula was designed to assess the composition of adulteration in the actual detection of infant formulas. These results highlight applicability of this method for the detection of infant formulas with complicated matrix.