Milk adulteration is a huge problem in India – As per a recent research, it was found that 68.7% of all milk sold in India is adulterated by one form or the other.
Normally, a mechanism to check milk adulteration is expensive and not feasible for the common man to check, who is most probably buying 1 or 2 liters of milk daily.
Now, IIT-Hyderabad scientists have developed a unique system to check milk adulteration, and all you need is a cheap sensor and your smartphone!
IIT-Hyderabad’s Smartphone Based Milk Adulteration System
A team led by Prof Shiv Govind Singh, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad have developed a unique smartphone-based system to check milk adulteration.
The work is still on, and the sensors have been developed, as published in November 2018 issue of Food Analytical Methods journal.
The team consisted of Dr Soumya Jana and Dr Siva Rama Krishna Vanjari, Associate Professors in the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad.
As per Prof Singh, ‘techniques such as chromatography and spectroscopy’ can be used to check milk adulteration, but is not feasible as its expensive. He said, “Hence, they do not appeal to the vast majority of milk consumers in the developing world,”
How Does Smartphone Based Milk Adulteration Work?
In the first step, the scientists at IIT-Hyderabad have developed paper-based sensor, which checks acidity in the milk. This indicator-paper changes color, based on the acidic content present in the mik.
This paper-based sensor or indicator is made using a technique called ‘electrospinning’ – A paper-like material has been developed, which is created of nanosized fibres of nylon, loaded with a combination of three dyes.
This paper-indicator is “halochromic”, thus, changes colors based on the milk content.
In the second step, the scientists have developed a smartphone algorithm, which will read the color-change happening in the indicator-paper, and instantly inform the user whether the milk is adulterated or not.
Smartphone camera will capture the change the color, which will go through a machine learning algorithm to instantly inform about adulteration in milk, if any. This innovative machine-learning based algorithm will convert the data captured from the sensor into pH (acidity) ranges, which will make it easy to identify if the milk is adulterated or not.
This is indeed a revolutionary invention, as milk adulteration affects everyone, and consuming adulterated milk can invite diseases and can prove very expensive.
The Problem Of Milk Adulteration In India
As per a recent survey by Animal Welfare Board, it was found that 68.7% of all milk sold in India is adulterated. Normally, these things are added to milk to make it look white, clean and fresh and also to increase weight: detergent, glucose, urea, caustic soda, white paint and oil.
Chemicals such as formalin, hydrogen peroxide, boric acid, and antibiotics are also used sometimes to increase the thickness and viscosity of the milk. Milk adulteration can cause heart diseases, cancer, and in some extreme cases, even death.
We hope that this invention by IIT-Hyderabad scientists is mass-produced commercially, and every Indian an have access to it to ensure that their milk is pure and genuine.
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