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Using space technology in the Indian food and agricultural sector...

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

and it's impact!


We all have seen Sci-fi movies or videos where the technology used is just way beyond what we have used or consumed in our day-to-day basis. But, what if we can use a similar technology to solve major challenges being currently faced by our Indian agricultural sector. A technology which is easier to use, powered by Artificial intelligence and enables the user to make proactive businesses decisions to eliminate challenges currently faced in the industry.


Let us shed some light on this technology

Spectroscopy is a powerful analytical technique that has applications across a wide range of industries, including both space exploration and the food industry.

Spectroscopy involves the measurement of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and matter to determine the chemical composition and physical properties of various materials.

According to the quantum theory of atoms, each element and molecule has a unique spectrum. Thanks to the particular interactions between the electrons and nuclei, each type of atom or molecule can only absorb or emit light of specific wavelengths, which are the physical property of light that gives its color. For instance, colors of neon, krypton, or sodium light bulbs are colored red, blue, and yellow because atoms of those elements emit most of their light in those wavelengths. Today, astronomers also use known spectra to measure the distance to galaxies. (Source: Center for Astrophysics)

Similarly, when testing food using spectroscopy, molecules absorb light of specific wavelength. Different types of molecules require different type of spectroscopy technique since absorption wavelength of each molecule if different.

For instance infrared spectroscopy (IR) is used to identify the chemical composition of food components such as lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins. It can also be used to detect the presence of contaminants such as pesticides and toxins in food samples.

Similarly, Raman spectroscopy is used in the food industry to identify the molecular structure and functional groups of food components such as amino acids, sugars, and lipids. Raman spectroscopy can also be used to detect the presence of contaminants such as toxins and heavy metals in food samples.

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) is a non-destructive analytical technique used in the food industry to determine the chemical composition of food products. NIR spectroscopy can be used to determine the moisture content, fat content, and protein content of food products. It can also be used to monitor the quality and freshness of food products such as fruits and vegetables.

In addition to the above techniques, UV-Vis spectroscopy is a technique used in the food industry to determine the colour and appearance of food products such as beverages, fruits, and vegetables. It can also be used to monitor the quality and shelf-life of food products.


The impact!

Into the near future, feeding the world's population will require advances in both quality and quantity efficiencies; and safety in agricultural production and the food - value chain.

Increasingly the world’s scientists are turning to spectroscopy to address challenges at every stage in food production. (Source: Spectroscopy in food and agricultural industries, Avantes USA )

Food spectrometers have evolved drastically over the last decade. Old spectrometers were bulky, expensive and dedicated to large labs. Nowadays, this technology has been improved and evolved to portable size and costs a lot less than conventional bench-top spectrometers. These instruments are so useful in this food industry.


According to Ocean Insight, the food & agriculture industry uses spectroscopy for the following:

  • Industrial sorting and grading

  • Real-time field analysis

  • Horticulture lighting monitoring

  • Pesticide detection

  • Food authentication

We will get into further depths on these topics in our upcoming posts.


The conclusion.

Spectroscopy used by astronomers, astrophysicists, scientists in various fields in space explorations, measuring distance to galaxies and it's compositions. Interestingly, this same technology and it's techniques are also used in the food and agricultural sector to solve major challenges currently faced in this industry. Evolution of spectrometers and improvements in this technology has drawn world's scientists to use spectroscopy to address and solve challenges in the sector.






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