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These researchers at IIT- H are no less than mighty swans because they have found a new technique of separating milk from water (read contamination).


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To detect the adulteration in milk, smartphone-based sensors have been developed. The project is in the primary stage and the researchers have created a detector system to check the acidity in milk through an indicator paper that changes color as per the acidity in the milk. Further, they have developed algorithms that can be incorporated into a mobile phone to accurately detect the color change.

The team is led by Shiv Govind Singh, professor in Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT-H, and associate professors Soumya Jana and Siva Rama Krishna Vanjari.

Prof. Shiv Govind Singh said that it is important to develop low-cost easy-to-use devices else it will not interest the vast majority of milk consumers in the developing world. “We need to develop simple devices that the consumer can use to detect milk contamination. It should be possible to make milk adulteration detection fail-safe by monitoring all of these parameters at the same time, without the need for expensive equipment.”

They have developed a sensor chip-based method that can determine the pH (an indicator of acidity). The process of ‘electrospinning’ has been used to make paper-like material made of nano-sized fibers of nylon, which are loaded with a blend of three dyes. The paper is “halochromic”, that changes color in response to changes in the acidity.

On testing with milk spiked with several combinations of contaminants, they found near-perfect classification with an accuracy of 99.71%. The research has been published in the November issue of the journal Food Analytical Methods.