The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Presto! A pill for mishti doi
- JU scientists encapsulate lactic bacteria to help make curd at home

Good news for mishti doi lovers — you can soon just drop a pill into a bowl of milk at home and wait for it to turn into sweet curd.

Scientists at Jadavpur University’s (JU) food technology department have invented a method by which lactic bacteria (shaja) can be made available in capsule form. Once the research is complete, this brand of ‘tech’ doi will go to various sweet shops in different flavours.

At home, one can just buy the special capsule — of your favourite flavour — and mix it with milk to make curd. Utpal Roy Choudhury, in-charge of the JU food technology department, said: “The new method will not only help people make sweet curd in various flavours at home, it will also ensure that the curd retains the important ingredients of milk, like Vitamin B-1, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12 and folic acid.”

Sponsored by the biotechnology department of the Union government, the university, apparently, took the decision to undertake the research at the behest of members of the sweet shop-wners’ association in the city. Sources in the association said they had urged JU to develop the technology so that high-quality mishti doi is not limited to only a few renowned shops.

Roy Choudhury, however, said: “When the association approached us, we were already working on a research sponsored by the biotechnology department of the Central government on the use of lactic bacteria in food processing. We accepted the proposal, as it blended with the Central government scheme.”

The pill is being developed in the laboratories of the food technology department by isolating different species of lactic bacteria, using biotechnological methods. So far, the research team has been able to identify five kinds of such bacteria, each with a particular taste and flavour. “This will allow us to sell mishti doi in various flavours while retaining high nutrition values,” said R.K. Pal, of Paschim Banga Mistanna Byabsayee Samity.

The curd made with the pill will also be “safer” than what is now available in sweet shops. At present, the common ingredient (shaja) used for making curd is a mixture of various species of lactic bacteria, which often leads to contamination.

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