A rapid and sensitive method to determine potassium permanganate in meat

  • Yuriy Balji
  • Zhanat Adilbekov
  • Yuliya Scheiko
  • Symbat Seidenova
  • Gulzhikhan Ismagulova
  • Galia ZamaratskaiaEmail author


In some countries, potassium permanganate is illegally added to meat to improve the colour and mask the smell of spoiled meat. In this study, we developed a method for rapidly detecting and quantifying potassium permanganate in beef, horse, lamb and pork meats. First, the surface of meat was treated with 0.2% ethanolic benzidine. In meat containing potassium permanganate, the spots treated with ethanolic benzidine developed a dark green colour within 1–2 s, turning rapidly to black. The changes in colour were similar in potassium permanganate-containing meat of different types (beef, horse, lamb, pork), suggesting that the proposed method can be applied to determine the presence of potassium permanganate irrespective of animal species. We also prepared filter paper strips impregnated with 0.2% ethanolic benzidine, which developed a dark blue-green colour when applied to meat treated with potassium permanganate. The intensity of colour developed was directly related to the concentration of potassium permanganate used in the meat. Analysis of the same samples by spectrophotometer at 450 nm confirmed the results. Using the paper strip method, we were able to non-invasively analyse 37,000 retail meat samples from cattle, horses, lambs and pigs for their content of potassium permanganate. We believe that this method has considerable potential for use by food safety regulatory bodies and consumers at the point of sale.


Meat products Spoilage test Spectrophotometry Paper strips Potassium permanganate Benzidine 



The present study was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan budget program 217 “Science development” within the program 102 “Grant financing of scientific research”, on the project no. 5591/ГФ4 “Development of methods and test-kits for the determination of contaminants in foodstuffs and falsification of food products”. The authors thank the administration of the Kazakh Agro-Technical University named after S. Seifullin and Laboratory for Food Product Quality and Safety at the Department of Veterinary Sanitation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Veterinary SanitationS. Seifullin Kazakh AgroTechnical UniversityAstanaKazakhstan
  2. 2.Department of Molecular SciencesSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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