In-situ Particle Characterization in Emulsions for Field-scale Quality Assurance in the Dairy Industry

In-situ Particle Characterization in Emulsions for Field-scale Quality Assurance in the Dairy Industry
Sanjay Sarma, Vice President for Open Learning and Fred Fort Flowers (1941) and Daniel Fort Flowers (1941) Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Period of performance: 

September 2017 to August 2018
Food safety, Food quality, Dairy, sensor, sensing, smartphone, supply chain, mechanical engineering

Abstract: 

We are developing a handheld device that can effectively test the quality of milk by measuring milk fat and protein rapidly to estimate value, improve traceability, and enable real-time control. In the dairy industry in India, milk procurement is challenging due to small-scale farming. We are motivated by issues that are prevalent there; tampering can occur at various points in the supply chain and consistency in the safety and quality of milk products is difficult to manage. Developing methods for in-situ characterization of particles in dense emulsions such as milk will allow users at village-level milk collection centers to test their supplies to ensure quality and nutritional consistency. We aim to ensure real-time control across the dairy industry supply chain – from farmers, to collection centers, to processing plants.

During the grant period, our team will develop and test the image processing system that is the foundation of this technology in order to condense it into an embedded image sensor.  Once refined, we will scale it for handheld devices and conduct pilot studies in select regions in India. The goal at the end the grant period is to have a refined product that reaches our end-users, the estimated 300,000 village-level milk collection centers across India.