A team of researchers, led by Kamdhenu University Vice- Chancellor Professor M C Varshneya, Director of Research Dr DB Patil and principal and dean of Government College of Dairy Science, Amreli Dr Vimal M Ramani, have developed a nanotechnology-based “dip strip” as a solution to control adulteration in milk.
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Giving an alternate to existing traditional and sophisticated methods to test milk adulteration like infrared based, spectrophotometric, chromatographic and other technically complicated methods which are time-consuming, expensive and require skilled manpower to handle the sophisticated instruments, the team has developed a portable tool which is claimed to be accurate, affordable and a reliable technique.
“This ‘nanotechnology-based dip strip’ resembles a paper strip, but is made of fibrous pad material using nano capillaries. It can detect eight types of impurities, including the most commonly used urea, detergent, sodium carbonate maltodextrin, hydrogen peroxide and others present in the milk. It changes colour with each impurity,” said Dr Vimal M Ramani who is also the Dean of Dairy Science Faculty.
This test is simple, easy and affordable that can identify the commonly used chemicals like detergent and urea in milk. It can be performed at home also by the common people, says one of the research team members, Ankur C Thummar.
The research project undertaken by the team of Dr Vimal M Ramani and three postgraduate research fellows — Rakesh H Kabariya, Jayesh H Kabariya and Ankur C Thummar — with the guidance of V-C Prof M C Varshneya and Director Research Dr DB Patil for the last one year is funded by the Department of Biotechnology under Ministry of Science and Technology.
“The trials so far has been successful and we have also applied for the patent. Against sophisticated expensive testing machines, the mass production cost of each strip will be nearly 25 paise which in itself reflects the accessibility to a common person. At present, separate strips are used to detect eight different impurities. But we are upgrading this to a single strip,” said Dr Vimal M Ramani.
Under the guidance of Prof M C Varshneya and Dr D B Patil, the team has developed a nanotechnology-based test to identify adulteration in milk at College of Dairy Science, Kamdhenu University, Amreli.
“Across the country, milk adulteration is a haunting problem. According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), about 68.4 per cent of the milk is contaminated or adulterated with malpractice in milk supply chain which include dilution with unsafe water is common,” said V P Mackwan, registrar of Kamdhenu University to which the Government College of Dairy Science Amreli is affiliated to.
The demonstration of this test has been recently carried out to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani by the Vice Chancellor of Kamdhenu University Professor M C Varshneya and the researcher team.
“The response and support from the state government as well as the University authorities has been very encouraging. The authorities have asked us to work further on this research which will address the major issue of milk adulteration,” added Dr Ramani.