Weekly Current Affairs

A new handheld device to detect melamine in milk [S&T, Health]

  • Detecting melamine in milk has become extremely easy, quick and inexpensive now, due to a handheld melamine detector developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
  • Leaf extract of a commonly seen weed parthenium along with silver nitrate is used for detecting the presence of melamine in milk.
  • The presence of melamine in milk can be detected at room temperature within a few seconds through a change in colour.
  • Melamine content of more than 1 ppm in infant formula and more than 2.5 ppm in other foods should be viewed with suspicion of adulteration.
  • In 2008, at least four babies in China died and around 100,000 became sick after consuming powdered milk baby food laced with melamine.
  • Due to the presence of nitrogen, the addition of melamine to milk makes it look protein-rich.