IIT Madras researchers develop device to test milk adulteration

The portable device can be used to test water, fresh juice, milkshakes at home as well

March 27, 2023 06:24 pm | Updated 06:24 pm IST - CHENNAI

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras have developed a three-dimensional paper-based portable device to detect milk adulteration in 30 seconds. The test can be performed at home.

The device requires just one millilitre of liquid sample and can detect commonly used adulterating agents such as urea, detergents, soap, starch, hydrogen peroxide, sodium-hydrogen-carbonate and salt. The technology can be used to test water, fresh juices and milkshakes.

Pallab Sinha Mahapatra, associate professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, and research scholars Subhashis Patri and Priyankan Datta published their work in Nature.

Mr. Mahapatra said the 3D device is made of a top and bottom cover and a sandwich structured middle layer. The design worked well to transport dense liquids at a consistent speed, he said.

The reagents are dissolved either in distilled water or ethanol, depending on their solubility. “Using colorimetric detection techniques, all the adulterants are detected in different liquid samples,” he said.

From the investigation, it is inferred that the reagent only reacts with specific adulterant and not milk ingredients, according to him. “This analytical tool can help monitor liquid food safety and thereby increase the traceability of tainted milk in remote areas of developing countries,” he said.

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