Home India IIT Madras Researchers Develop Simple Technique for Detecting Milk Adulteration

IIT Madras Researchers Develop Simple Technique for Detecting Milk Adulteration

IIT Madras Researchers Develop Simple Technique for Detecting Milk Adulteration

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed a simple and effective technique for detecting starch adulteration in milk using a portable microscope. The technique, which involves analyzing a sessile drop of milk under a microscope and measuring the width and height of the deposit, can detect starch adulteration up to 0.005 percent weight by volume of starch.

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed a simple and effective technique for detecting adulteration in milk, specifically starch. Milk is a crucial food item for many people around the world, but some suppliers may resort to unethical techniques to meet high demand, including adulterating milk with dangerous substances. Starch is one such adulterant that can cause significant health problems.

In a research article published in Food Control, the authors Dr. Padma Ishwarya S, Dr. Madivala G. Basavaraj, Dr. Venkateshwar Rao Dugyala, and Dr. Shantanu Pradhan, describe their method which involves analyzing a sessile drop of milk under a portable microscope and measuring the width and height of the deposit. This technique can detect starch adulteration up to 0.005 percent weight by volume of starch.

Previous methods for detecting starch adulteration in milk, such as the iodine test, have had limitations. The iodine test, which is the most commonly used method, has a limit of detection (LOD) of only 0.02 percent weight by volume of starch. Additionally, the iodine test is qualitative and does not provide an accurate estimate of starch concentration. Other methods, such as iodine titration and near infrared spectroscopy, require sophisticated instruments and skilled personnel and also use harmful chemicals.

The technique developed by IIT Madras researchers is cheaper, more effective, and more accurate, and it can be used in the field. However, more research is needed to understand the influence of various parameters such as starch concentration, substrate types, and temperature/humidity conditions on the efficacy of this novel sessile drop evaporation-based adulterant detection approach.

Commenting on the research, Prof. Rajneesh Bhardwaj from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Bombay said, “The evaporation of sessile droplets on a solid surface containing colloidal particles, also known as the coffee-ring effect (CRE), has been a much-studied problem in the field of interfaces in the last two decades. The research done by IIT Madras team is a step forward in the field of adulterant detection using sessile drop evaporation.”

This new technique is a vital contribution to the global health and nutrition field, as it helps in detecting a dangerous adulterant in milk and it can be used in emerging economies as well. This could also be a step towards improving food security and public health, especially in developing countries.

Summary- Milk is a crucial food item for many people around the world, but some suppliers may resort to unethical techniques to meet high demand, including adulterating milk with dangerous substances. Starch is one such adulterant that can cause significant health problems. IIT Madras researchers have developed a new method for detecting starch adulteration in milk using a portable microscope, which allows for cheap and accurate detection of starch adulteration at lower concentration, and this can be used in field conditions too. However, more research is needed to understand the influence of various parameters such as starch concentration, substrate types, and temperature/humidity conditions on the efficacy of this novel sessile drop evaporation based adulterant detection approach.

Link to the published paper:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0956713522004650

What this paper is about

  • Hence, this study is aimed at developing a simple and cost-effective technique for the detection of milk adulteration based on the sessile drop evaporation approach.
  • The objective of this study is to detect starch adulteration in milk as a function of water addition/dilution level and starch type and concentration, by analyzing the deposit patterns after complete evaporation of the solvent.
  • Accordingly, the deposit patterns obtained after the sessile drop evaporation of adulterated milk are expected to be significantly different from that of pure milk.

Outcomes

  • Raman spectra corresponding to edge region central region of the evaporative deposits obtained from dried sessile drops of pure milk and milk diluted with 50% water on volume basis.
  • Unlike the conventional starch-iodine test, the sessile drop evaporation approach proposed in this work is a facile and chemical-free approach for the detection and quantification of starch adulteration in milk.
  • Future studies are required to understand the influence of a wide-range of parameters such as starch concentrations, substrate types and temperature/humidity conditions on the efficacy of this novel sessile drop evaporation based adulterant detection approach.
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