GHMC requests for calcium carbide monitoring kits


In a bid to test fruits for the presence of calcium carbide and other chemicals used to hasten the process of ripening them, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has submitted a recommendation to the government of Telangana to procure monitoring kits.


Officials from the civic body opined that these will not only ensure easy and on-the-spot testing, but also expedite the testing process, which usually takes between 10 and 15 days.


However, sources have stated that the recommendation is still in the primary phase, and no decision has been taken regarding the procurement of the kits so far. But to tackle the problem, the administration has formed a joint committee, whose members includes officials of the state food safety department and the police department. It has been decided that M Prashanthi, joint commissioner, GHMC, will be the chairperson of the committee.


Recently, a team of researchers from the department of food science and technology, Pondicherry University, invented a kit. The three-member team is led by Prathap Kumar Shetty H, associate professor and head of the department.


Shetty informed that the kit was a nano-sensor-based colour-changing type solution. It changes colour from red to purple if calcium carbide is found to be present in the sample fruit. The kit can detect arsenic hydride residues on the surfaces of the fruits that have been artificially ripened.


It works based on the principle that when the fruits are ripened using the calcium carbide, arsenic residues from the material gets transported with the moisture and gets deposited on the surface of fruits. Hence, the artificially-ripened fruits will have higher levels of arsenic when compared to their naturally ripened counterparts.


Shetty also stated that the kit will be helpful even for an unskilled layman to quickly detect the presence of chemicals in artificially-ripened fruits like mangoes. He confirmed that they hadn’t received any proposal yet, adding that they would welcome them. He added that the manufacturing of the kit would commence as soon as the patent process was complete.

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