Hot Start-up: Disruptive next-gen solutions for food analysis industry

In 2008, shortly after Dr Venkat Panchagnula, now 40, joined NCL (National Chemical Laboratory, Pune), there was a scare of melamine contamination in Chinese milk products

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(Photo Courtesy: www.blog.oldstlabs.com)

Melamine is a white, crystalline, organic base chemical rich in nitrogen, widely used in the manufacture of adhesives, plastics and whiteboards.

This chemical has the capacity to increase the milk's nitrogen content, leading to an increased protein levels in the milk, which has been excessively adulterated with water.

During this time, Dr Venkat's group were developing bioanalysis methods for processing large number of samples within a short duration.

These methods were immediately put to use, and an analysis method to rapidly and reliably detect melamine in milk was published.

Over the next few years, the team developed an entire analytical tool kit for pesticide and food contaminant analysis was developed. The primary aim was to cater to the unique analysis needs of Indian farmers and exporters, which means handling high-volume perishables.

 

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