Here's An Affordable Way To Check Purity Of Organic Food, Milk

When we talk about organic food and vegetable and look at their price tags, for a middle class person like most of us, it’s just a fad or trend. But honestly, it’s just return to traditional way of farming. But the vegetables we get in the market - organic or not - can either be the most nutritious or the most poisonous. So how can we know organic veggies or the fruits that we pay double for are actually organic?

Recently, Edexlive had a feature on Hemalatha Rajendran, a BTech graduate (2018) in Biotechnology from St Joseph’s College of Engineering, Chennai. Her driving force behind her path breaking invention was when her father, an MTC driver, told her that she should work on something that anyone can understand and easily use.

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The topic of whether organic food was really organic, Hemalatha decided to come on a pesticide detector and a tool that indicates the presence of urea in milk at a minimal cost. For her brilliant work she even won the Innovative Project Award presented by the Indian National Academy of Engineering for her invention. The USP of both the tools that she developed is that both have an easy working mechanism.

For detecting the presence of urea in milk, her apparatus is simple and easy-to-use. It’s all about dipping the strips of A4 sheets in milk and if it has urea it will change its colour- from pale yellow to a distinct brighter shade of yellow. “The pesticide detection tool is made from decolourised sketch cartridge in which the reagent is introduced. It has a stability of 10 days and costs Rs 5 per 10 strips. Since it was based on the colourimetric method, even a common man can use it without any technical skill,” explains Hemalatha to edexlive. “The urea detection strip was made from A4 sheet soaked in the reagent. It’s only Rs 2 per 10 strips” Thus making it easier in entering normal households.

“Nowadays, most of the milk we consume is contaminated with urea, detergent, soda and so on. They are added to increase the stability and the colour. A case had also been filed in the past asking the court to certify organic food products,” adds Hemalatha

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The pesticide detection tool is made from decolourised sketch cartridge in which the reagent is introduced. For the detection of pesticides, a drop of the extract from the item is enough for the indicator to turn a bluish tinge. “The reagents I used are the ones labs generally use to detect urea or pesticide but it has to be done in a lab by a trained professional,” says Hemalatha

 Hemalatha is currently preparing for her UPSC examinations and aspires to join DRDO. Her simple but useful tools have made a complicated procedure like the above, easy for every household. She is aware that she still has a long way to go, “Though my product is not a complete solution to these problems I am sure it will provide a partial solution, ”she says humbly “I still need to increase the shelf life of the products — a mere 45 days or 10 days would not be enough.”

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When asked what made Hemalatha work on this field, she said “I wanted to make something that will help us in our day-to-day life and will also be affordable.” She plans to carry on her research at ARMATS Biotek Training and Research Institute’s laboratory in Guindy.

Picture Source: Youtube; Natural Living Ideas; EdexLive

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