The Modernization Engineering Technology Research Center of Ethnic Minority Medicine of Hubei Province, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, South-Central University for Nationalities, Wuhan 430074, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
To enhance the power of untargeted detection, a "turn-off" fluorescent probe with double quantum dots (QDs) was developed and coupled with chemometrics for rapid detection of multiple adulterants in an herbal (Rhus chinensis Mill., RCM) honey. The double water-soluble ZnCdSe-CdTe QDs have two separate and strong fluorescent peaks, which can be quenched by honey and extraneous adulterants with varying degrees. Class models of pure RCM honey samples collected from 6 different producing areas (n = 122) were developed using one-class partial least squares (OCPLS). Four extraneous adulterants, including glucose syrup, sucrose syrup, fructose syrup, and glucose-fructose syrup were added to pure honey samples at the levels of 0.5% to 10% (w/w). As a result, the OCPLS model using the second-order derivative (D2) spectra could detect 1.0% (w/w) of different syrups in RCM honey, with a sensitivity of 0.949. The double water-soluble QDs, which can be adjusted for analysis of other water-soluble food samples, has largely extended the capability of traditional fluorescence and will provide a potentially more sensitive and specific analysis method for food frauds.