23.09.2021 change 23.09.2021

Lodz chemists discover new method for testing amount of ‘malaria-treating’ quinine in tonic water

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Chemists at the University of Lodz have developed a cheaper and more effective method of determining how much quinine, once used in the treatment of malaria, is used in tonic water.

A suitable high concentration of quinine in tonic water is significant because it helps with muscle pains and proper digestion.

According to the university, the detection method is based on polarized liquid–liquid interface. The passage of quinine from one phase to another can be registered in the form of current signals, which are then processed into information on presence and quantity of quinine in the test sample, 

The procedure, combined with innovative microplatforms has been successfully used to test for the presence of quinine and determine its actual concentration in tonic water samples.

The research also shows that not all brands have a sufficiently high concentration of quinine in their beverages. In some cases, this content can only be determined as a ‘trace’. 

Dr. Konrad Rudnicki and Dr. Łukasz Półtorak from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Lodz said: “The proposed method may be a competition for other methods used in laboratories of food sector companies, it is simply precise and cheap.”

Chemical sensors are devices that enable monitoring of presence and - in some cases - quantities of chemical substances. Developing cheap, sensitive and easy to use sensors is the subject of research of many research teams around the world.

According to a university press release: “One of the areas that requires continuous monitoring is the food industry. The scale and diversity of food products in the market allow for only selective monitoring of their chemical composition, which opens the possibility of unfair practices, as well as massive emergence of products with compositions that deviate from the declared ones (the presence of impurities, undesirable additives or reduced/elevated contents of declared ingredients).”

A helpful solution are chemical sensors that transform chemical information into electric signals that can be then used in consumer quality control.

The research project led by Dr Konrad Rudnicki was carried under the PRELUDE 15 grant (UMO–2018/29/N/ST4/01054) financed by the National Science Centre in Kraków. 

The results of the project are the basis for patent application (No. P436383, 2020) and have been published in the prestigious English-language Philadelphia list journal Food Chemistryhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814621014230

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