The purpose of this study was to determine if the ionic calcium content of skim milk could be determined using molecular probes and front-face fluorescence spectroscopy. Current methods for determining ionic calcium are not sensitive, overestimate ionic calcium, or require complex procedures. Molecular probes designed specifically for measuring ionic calcium could potentially be used to determine the ionic calcium content of skim milk. The goal of the current study was to develop foundation methods for future studies to determine ionic calcium directly in skim milk and other dairy products with molecular probes and fluorescence spectroscopy. In this study, the effect of pH on calcium-sensitive fluorescent probe (Rhod-5N and Fluo-5N) performance using various concentrations of skim milk was determined. The pH of diluted skim milk (1.9 to 8.9% skim milk), was adjusted to either 6.2 or 7.0, after which the samples were analyzed with fluorescent probes (1 μM) and front-face fluorescence spectroscopy. The ionic calcium content of each sample was also determined using a calcium ion-selective electrode. The results demonstrated that the ionic calcium content of each sample was highly correlated (R2 > 0.989) with the fluorescence intensities of the probe-calcium adduct using simple linear regression. Higher than suggested ionic calcium contents of 1,207 and 1,973 μM were determined with the probes (Fluo-5N and Rhod-5N) in diluted skim milk with pH 7.0 and 6.2, respectively. The fluorescence intensity of the probe-calcium adduct decreased with a decrease in pH for the same ionic calcium concentration. This study demonstrates that Fluo-5N and Rhod-5N can be used to determine the ionic-calcium content of diluted milk with front-face fluorescence spectroscopy. Furthermore, these probes may also have the potential to determine the ionic calcium content of undiluted skim milk.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The project was supported by the USDA Cooperative State Research , Education and Extension Service, special research grant number 2005-34328-16024 . We are also grateful to Kraft Foods Inc. for supporting the research.
- Fluorescence spectroscopy
- Fluorescent probe
- Ionic calcium