Remember the time when the milk packets we purchased were liberally diluted with water or contained adulterants? Since then, a number of consumers have transitioned to the TetraPak varieties of packaged milk which claim to be unadulterated and safe enough to be drunk without boiling. However, for those of us who are overly conscious of what we consume there is now a way to test the milk you drink.
Avisek Barla, final year B-Tech student from IIT Madras has developed a cost-effective method to test milk with a strip of paper. Barla’s paper, according to The New Indian Express, contains reagents spread across the length of the strip which change colour like a litmus paper test when they come in contact with adulterants in milk. He says,
The strip has been divided into zones and can detect as many as four adulterants in a single test. The FSSAI identifies about 33 adulterants in milk, and the device so far can detect the presence of glucose, urea, boric acid and detergent.”
His innovation to provide the common man with a simple way to test the purity of a basic food item has won him the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation award at New Delhi. Avisek believes that with this cost-effective tool, milk distributors can check the milk for adulterants at the source itself when it is being purchased from farmers. Moreover, it makes for a viable tool for households as well.
He is now working on increasing the scope of his test paper which he also calls a polymer chip. The enhanced version should be able to identify percentage of other constituents such as fat, proteins and antibiotics in milk besides also checking for adulterants. He is also in talks with companies to bring his innovation into the hands of the common man.