As much as 70% of the milk produced in India is claimed to be adulterated, as per a TOI report

“The major bottlenecks for fixing this issue are the lack of strict enforcement laws and the unavailability of quick and easy detection techniques,” says Dr Pallab Sinha Mahapatra of IIT Madras

To tackle the challenge, he and research scholars Subhashis Patari and Dr Priyankan Datta have built a portable device that can detect multiple adulteration elements in milk.

The team say this 3D paper device has the ability to detect adulteration in just 30 seconds.

It can detect adulterating agents such as urea, detergents, soap, starch, hydrogen peroxide, sodium-hydrogen-carbonate and salt, among others.

Dr Mahapatra points out that the technology behind their idea is the combination of microfluidics and the calorimetric reaction.

“The colorimetric detection technique identifies the adulterants in these detection zones, and the adulterants can be quantified using a colour intensity test,” he explains.

A colour band and adulterant names are provided on the bottom cover’s backside for the users to easily identify the adulterants.

“With the provided colour bands, the number of adulterants can be measured with a limit of detection varying from 0.1% to 0.4% for different adulterants,” he says.

The device can be used at home as well, and requires just a millilitre of milk. It will soon be available for use by consumers in Indian markets.