I wanted to do a project using the Public Lab spectrometer, and detect contamination in baby formula. Baby formula has previously been contaminated with melamine, which increases the nitrogen content of the milk. To mimic this, I added nitrogen fertilizer to the formula. I took a couple spectras, shown below.-><--><--><--><--><-
This is the spectra of a regular baby formula
This is the spectra of baby formula mixed with a large amount of nitrogen fertilizer.
I had a couple questions about the viability of the project.
I tried my best to keep the conditions the same, like the distance from the light source, thickness of the formula. I'm not sure if the change in spectra is just due to inconsistencies in my work, or if the spectrums are truly different. Are these spectras accurately showing the contamination in the formulas?
I was also curious and wanted to try to detect nitrogen contamination in regular water. I've attached the spectras below.
This is a spectra of plain water
This is a spectra of water with a lot of nitrogen fertilizer added.
I was really surprised to see such a big difference in the spectras! I was a little confused, as I thought it was hard to detect water contamination through a simple spectrometer. I added a lot of fertilizer, so maybe that was the problem? I am wondering if these results make sense, or are just flukes. Do you think it would still work if I added a more realistic amount of fertilizer?
I would love any advice on what you think!
Thanks so much!