Determination of the illegal adulteration of natural healthcare products with chemical drugs using surface-enhanced Raman scattering
The illegal adulteration of natural healthcare products with chemical drugs can result in serious health risks for consumers. Thus there is an urgent need for a fast and precise detection method. In this research, sodium alginate (SA)-silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were used as a substrate in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for determining vardenafil and rosiglitazone maleate (ROS). Sodium alginate can not only reduce silver ions rapidly to AgNPs as reducing agents but can also protect AgNPs from aggregation by its use as a capping agent. The coffee ring effect has also been applied in this research to facilitate the separation and concentration of analytes. A prominent SERS enhancement can be obtained on the ring because of the electromagnetic mechanism. Both of the properties, including the use of SA and the coffee ring effect, make the method more sensitive in detecting the analytes compared to the classical AgNPs, SERS substrate which were produced using the reduction of silver nitrate with sodium citrate. The method displays a linear response for the determination of vardenafil and ROS in the 4.88–488 μg·mL−1 and 4.74–94.7 μg·mL−1 concentration ranges, and the limit of detection is as low as 1.63 μg·mL−1 and 2.20 μg·mL−1, respectively. The method was successfully applied to the detection of vardenafil and ROS in healthcare products, with recoveries between 91.52% to 107.1% and relative standard deviations of less than 4.31%. This method shows good potential for real applications.