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PROJECT-24

Study of common food adulterants in fat, oil, butter, sugar, turmeric powder, chilli powder
and pepper.

Adulteration of foods mean intentional addition of cheap and harmful materials or deliberate
removal of some essential constituents of the foods. It has become very common today. Even the
cheapest food articlesalt, is adulterated. Some of the common adulterants in common food
stuffs are listed below :
Food stuff
Milk
Desi ghee and Butter
Vanaspati
Mustard oil
Sugar
Salt
Tea
Red chilli powder
Pepper
Turmeric powder
Rice
Arhar & Gram Dal

Common Adulterants
Water, fatless milk, starch
Vanaspati, powdered sweet potato, starchy materials
Paraffin wax, other cheap varieties of similar materials.
Argemone oil.
Chalk powder, washing soda, semolina.
Chalk powder
Used tea leaves after colouring, Dyed wooden chips.
Brick powder or injurious colours
Dried papaya seeds
Yellow chalk powder
Stone chips resembling rice
Khesari Dal.

Adulterated foods not only effects our budget but may also cause serious diseases, like
diarrhoea, ulcers, cancer etc. on consumption. Health from the ill effects of these common food
adulterants can be saved by testing the suspected food for these before eating. These adulterants
can be readily identified by simple chemical tests.
Objective I. To test the presence of water and starch in the given sample of milk.
Theory. Addition of water to milk dilutes its fat contents and therefore, lowers its specific
density. So presence of water in milk may be detected by measuring its specific density. Specific
density of pure milk is always more then 1.026.
Presence of starch materials in milk can be detected by exploiting the formation of bluecoloured complex .with iodine or tincture of iodine.
Apparatus. Test tube, lactometer measuring cylinder.
Chemicals. Given sample of milk, sulphuric acid, iodine or tincture of iodine. Procedure, (i) Put
few drops of the milk sample on a smooth and oily surface. If the milk is pure then its drops will
be stable for sometime and leaves a white streak.

(ii) Measure the specific density of the milk with a lactometer.


(iii) Babcock test for purity of milk. This determines the fat
content in milk. About 20 mL of milk is taken with the help of a
pipette in a small narrow-necked graduated flask (as shown in
Fig) and sulphuric acid is mixed in it. The flask is shaken until
the mixture becomes dark coloured. The acid does not affect the
fat but it dissolves other solids in milk. The flask is then
centrifuged by which the fat is forced towards the neck, being
lighter than other contents. Sufficient warm water is added to
bring the fat in the narrow neck, where its exact percentage is
read on the graduation mark.
.
(z'v) Testing the presence of starch in milk. Take 5 mL of
the milk sample in a test tube. Heat it to almost boiling. Cool
. ,
, ,, .
,, . ,.
, .
r 1,Fig. Flask for measuring
and add lew drops ol iodine solution or tincture ot iodine and
... ...
shake the contents. Appearance of a blue colour indicates the
presence of starch in the milk. If it is^pure, then there will be a deep yellow colouration due
to casein, a protein of milk.
Comment. Specific density test is not much reliable as specific density of diluted milk can be
increased by addition of some other compounds in it.
Objective 2. To test the presence of Vanaspati ghee and starchy matter in given sample of
pure ghee or butter.
Theory. Starchy matter can be detected with iodine. Iodine forms a blue coloured complex
with starch.
Vanaspati ghee gives pink colour with furfural.
Apparatus. Test tubes, test tube stand, test-tube holder.
Chemicals. Iodine or tincture of iodine,solution, hydrochloric acid, sugar, given sample of
ghee or butter.
Procedure, (i) Detection of starchy matter. Take about 0.5 g of the given ghee or butter in a test
tube. Add about one mL of water to it and boil. Cool and add a drop of iodine or tincture of iodine
solution. Appearance of blue colour indicates presence of starchy matter in
the sample.
(ii) Detection of vanaspati. Take about 0.5 g of the given sample of ghee or butter in a test tube.
Heat the tube gently so that the ghee melts and add a little sugar and hydrochloric acid to it. Shake
the contents for five minutes. Presence of pink colour in the aqueous layer is indication of vanaspati
gfctt v tbs sample.
Comment. Better remiitemr'u&G%%MMdJ&MJM J% alcoholic solution oj furfural m
place of sugar.

(i) Dyes to improve the colour of the material.


(ii) Paraffin wax or hydrocarbons to increase the weights of products (vegetable ghee),
thereby increasing the profit.

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(iii) Cheap varieties of similar materials, e.g., mustard oil is adulterated with Argemone oil.
The presence of these in oils or fats can be detected by exploiting their characteristic
property.
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Apparatus. Test-tubes and test-tube stand.


Chemicals. Hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, light petroleum, sulphuric acid, glacial acetic acid
and acetic anhydride.
Procedure. (/') Detection of dyes in oils and fats : (a) Take 2 gms of the melted and filtered fat
in a test tube. Add 5 mL of light petroleum to avoid its solidification and one mL ; of hydrochloric
acid (1:3) to it. Shake the tube thoroughly and allow to stand for some time. Appearance of pink
colour in the lower layer will indicate the presence of dyes.
(b\ Mix one mL (1 gm) of the fat with one mL of mixture of concentrated sulphuric acid
and glacial acetic acid (in 1 : 4 ratio) and heat the mixture nearly to boiling. Pink or reddish
colour
of
the
solution
will
indicate
presence
of
dyes.
I
(ii) Detection of paraffin wax and hydrocarbons. Heat small amount of the unsaponifiable
matter of oils with acetic anhydride carefully. If small droplets of oil will be found floating on
the surface of unused acetic anhydride, then the oil is surely adulterated with paraffin wax or
i

hydrocarbon.

(Hi) Detection of Argemone oil. Take about 5 mL of the oil in a test tube. Add few drops of
cone, nitric acid into it and shake carefully. Orange or red colour indicates the presence of
Argemone oil.
(iv) Detection of mineral oil. Take about 2 mL of the oil in test tube. Add into it equal amount
of N/2 nitric acid. Now heat the test-tube on water bath. Turbidity in the contents of the test tube
indicates presence of mineral oils in given sample of vegetable oils.
(v) Detection of castor oil. Take about 2 mL. of the given sample of vegetable oil in a test
tube. Add to it about 4 mL of light petroleum. Shake the tube to get a clear solution. Now
cool the tube in a ice and salt bath. If the mixture become turbid then castor oil must be
present
in
the
given
sample
of
vegetable
oil.
]
Note : (i) Oils catch fire easily so take care while heating them. Better hold the test tube with
a test tube holder while heating.
(ii) Petroleum is inflammable. So extinguish all flame while working with it.
Objective 4. To test the presence of adulterant in given sample of sugar.
Theory. Common adulterants of sugar are washing soda, chalk powder and semolina. Sugar
is soluble in water. So if any undissolved substance is left on dissolving sugar in water, then it is
indication of adulteration in it. Washing soda and chalk powder, both gives effervescence with
dil. HC1. Hence their presence in the suear samnle ran v>p rW^t^H u*, *~ot.^ ~.ii

Apparatus. Test tubes and test-tube stand.


Chemicals, Dilute hydrochloric acid and distilled water.
Procedure, (i) Take about one gram of the sugar sample in a test-tube and add about 5 mL of
water into it. Shake the contents of the tube for about 4-5 minutes. Presence of undissolved
substance indicates adulteration in the sugar.
(ii) Take about one gram of the sugar sample in a clean and dry test-tube. Add to it about 2
mL of dilute hydrochloric acid. Effervescence on addition of acid indicates the presence of chalk
or washing powder in the sugar.
Note : Powder the sugar before testing its solubility in water.
Objective 5, To find out the possibility of adulteration in given sample of chilli powder.
Theory. Red chilli powder is adulterated with either colours or brick powder. Brick powder
being heavy than chilli powder, therefore, settles at bottom on dissolving it in a glass of water. If
colour being added to the chilli powder, then water becomes coloured.
Apparatus. One glass or beaker and a glass rod.
Chemicals. Water.
Procedure. Add small amount of the given chilli powder in a glass full of water. Stir the
contents with a glass rod for a minute and wait for 2-3 minutes. Settling of brick powder at
bottom and appearance of red colour indicates adulteration in the sample.
Objective 6. To find out whether the given sample of turmeric powder is pure or not.
Theory. Yellow chalk powder, a common adulterant, of the turmeric powder gives
effervescence with dil. hydrochloric acid.
Apparatus. Test tubes and test-tube stand.
Chemicals. Dilute hydrochloric acid and water.
Procedure. (i) Take about 0.5 g of the powdered sample in a test tube. Add to it about one mL
of dil. hydrochloric acid. Effervescence indicates the presence of chalk powder in the sample.
(ii Dilute the contents of the tube with 25-30 mL of water. Disappearance of the violet colour
formed previously indicates the purity of turmeric powder. But if violet colour first formed with
dil. HC1 persist, then it is contaminated with yellow dye.
Methods of Detection of adulterants in common foods
Type of food
1. Desi Ghee & Butter

Common Adulterant

How to detect

Vanaspati, powdered sweet


potato, starchy matter.

Add a little sugar and HC1 to small amount


of melted ghee or butter and shake it for five
minutes. Presence of pink colour in the
aqueous layer is indication of vanaspati in
the sample.

2. Add about 2 mL, of water in ghee or butter


and boil. Add a drop of iodine or tincture of
iodine after cooling. Appearance of blue
colour indicates presence of starch matter in
the sample.

2. Mustard oil

Argemone oil

3. Sugar

Washing soda
powder

To about 5 mL of the oil, add few drops of


cone. HN03 and shake carefully Orange of
.red colour indicates the presence of
Argemone oil.
or chalk

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4. Salt

Chalk powder

Add about 2 mL of dil. HC1 to small


amount of the sample. Effervescence on
addition of acid shows the presence of chalk or
washing soda in the sugar
sample.
Add a little salt to water. Chalk powder will
settle down.

colours

Add small amount of the sample in a glass full


of water. Stir the contents and wait for 2
minutes. Brick powder settles at bottom.
Appearance of red colour in water indicates
colour presence in the sample.

5. Red chillies powder

Brick powder oi

6. Pepper

Dried papaya seeds

Add small amount of the sample in a


glass full of water. Dried 'Papaya' seeds floats
over water while the pure pepper settles down.

7. Turmeric powder

Yellow chalk powder

Add ~ one mL, dil. HC1 to small amount


of the sample. Effervescence indicates the
presence of chalk powder in the sample.

8. Tea

Used tea leaves or wooden


chips after colouring.

Rub small amount of the sample between


folds of a moistened cloth. If cloth
becomes coloured, then some due is present in
the sample.

9. Rice

Stone Chips resembling


rice

10. Arhar & Gram dal

Khesari Dal

Add rice to a glass full of water. Stone


chips will settle done at the bottom first.
Add a little hydrochloric acid in the sample
and heat. Pink colour indicates the Presence of
Khesari Dal.