Prashant Rupera | TNN
VADODARA/ ANAND: India is the world’s largest milk producer, but ironically 70% of the country’s population cannot digest milk or its products, a condition commonly known as lactose intolerance.
But there is a good news for this population now. Using indigenously developed technology, scientists at Anand Agricultural University (AAU) have make lactose-free milk, which, if scaled up by the dairy unions, can completely stop dependence on imports.
At present, most dairy majors in the country are dependent on synthetically developed enzymes imported from countries like Denmark to prepare lactose-free milk. Most of them are also dependent on the imported technologies to prepare this milk by mixing the chemically synthesized enzymes.
AAU has developed this technology in its laboratory under ‘Make In India’ project.
“Unlike the chemically synthesized enzymes, we have biologically produced the enzymes extracted from lactobacilli bacteria. Using this enzyme, the milk was kept for a while for enzymatic action to prepare lactose-free milk,” said Dr Subrota Hati, assistant professor in dairy microbiology department of AAU’s SMC College of Dairy Science.
The indigenous technology also promises to reduce cost of production. “We have given an ultra-sonic treatment to the bacteria which produced this enzyme. It is not just about using indigenous biologically developed bacteria but even the cost of production comes down by nearly Rs 30 per litre,” he said.
Amul has already shown interest in using this technology developed in its own backyard.
“We welcome this development. We would surely like to be the first one to use this technology which is available next door,” said R S Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) that markets brand Amul.
“Earlier, problem was availability of lactose free milk. Now, there is so much demand that we have to ensure that there is enough supply. At most of the major or minor outlets, lactose-free milk has become a must,” he said.
Hati mentored PhD student Shrushti Makwana on her project ‘production of B-galactosidase using ultrasonication from potent lactobacilli for preparation of lactose hydrolysed milk’.