MYSURU: CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI), a premier food research laboratory in the state, has developed a nanosensor kit for rapid detection and quantification of Vitamin A (beta-carotene) in milk.
Using the kit, farmers can easily identify the presence and quantity of beta-carotene, an indicator of the micro-nutrient quality of milk. Based on the results, farmers can alter the feed to cattle to increase Beta-carotene in milk and can also sell the milk with higher beta-carotene for a higher price.
Vitamin A content in milk differs from cattle to cattle, say scientists. Dr C Anandharamakrishnan, Principal Scientist, Food Engineering Department said that Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A, needed for healthy functioning of eyes and for overall growth.
“It is known that grass-fed cow’s milk contains higher amount of beta-carotene than non-grass-fed ones. Therefore, the test of milk is very essential. By testing the milk, farmers can feed more fresh green grass to cattle and get milk rich in beta carotene,” he said.
“At present, farmers are not able to know if beta carotene is present or not in milk. The existing technologies for the detection of beta-carotene are complex and unreachable for real time analysis at field level. Already a trial test has been done by collecting local raw milk. In the annual farmers meet of CFTRI the kit will be introduced to farmers. Haryana government has shown interest to purchase bulk amount of kits,” he added.
CFTRI aims to make the technology reach farmers at an affordable price. The kit will cost less than Rs 10,000.
About the Technology: The novel technology aims at detection and quantification of beta-carotene in milk using the selective binding property of metal nano particles that result in visible colour change.
The quantification of beta-carotene is done using the modified spectrophotometry device that provides instant yet accurate values.