Breast milk is the most important source of vitamin A for infants and young children, and its content depends on the nutritional status of this vitamin in the mother. Therefore, the determination of vitamin A in breast milk constitutes an important parameter, not only for estimating the supply of this essential nutrient during the first years of human life, but also for approximating this vitamin’s status in populations. On the other hand, the dairy industry is generally required to ensure the appropriate concentration of this vitamin in milk and its derivatives. The analysis of vitamin A in milk is time-consuming and cost-intensive, and requires sophisticated equipment and well-trained technicians. All these limitations could be overcome with a new rapid test kit – iEx™ MILA – with a portable fluorophotometer, the iCheck™ FLUORO. A comparison of vitamin A determinations of human breast milk and cow milk samples using this novel method and two different HPLC methods correlated well, and showed close agreement. Within only five minutes, using very simple laboratory equipment, vitamin A can be directly determined in milk without saponification or any other treatment steps. Preliminary results suggest that this method works acceptably well in liquid and unfrozen samples of milk. Additional experiments are ongoing, with the goal of finding procedures to improve the performance of the simple fluorometric method for other sample types, and for milk after freezing or drying.
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