HYDERABAD: A team of researchers from the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB) have developed a tool based on a new technique to detect the presence of Oxytetracycline (OTC) in milk samples.
Dr Pankaj Suman, Scientist C at NIAB, said, “Oxytetracycline is an extensively used antibiotic to treat diseases among cattle. It is often administered to animals even when the situation does not demand for it. This abuse results in it being secreted in the milk.”
He said that the small hand-held tool developed by them can be used by a layman to test if the milk they receive from the vendor is free of OTC. It can also be used by dairy companies that procure milk from various farmers to instantly detect the presence of OTC as the tool delivers results within 10 minutes. He said that while the imported devices currently in use in the country cost around `100 or more per test, the new tool will cost only between `25-50.
Exposure to OTC can result in the development of antimicrobial resistance in humans or even adverse health effects. The FSSAI has proposed permissible level of OTC in milk at 100 nanograms per millilitre. The new testing tool by NIAB can detect OTC levels as low as 5 nanograms per millilitre.