Markets are flooded with synthetic vinegar which if used in food can cause severe health problems, including the cancer, says Dr Gurvinder Singh Kocher (46), a microbiologist from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), who researched for three years ( 2003- 05) to produce natural vinegar.
Kocher said he had seen its open sale in almost every market of the country. “The synthetic vinegar may add flavour, but one must know that it’s purely a chemical containing traces of lead and can leave harmful impact on the gastrointestinal tract. It can even lead to cancer,” he informed.
On being asked what prompted him to work on his research, Kocher said as a scientist he would buy vinegar from various markets to test it in his laboratory and almost every test would put him in worry. “This trig g ered my mind to immerse myself in the research of producing natural vinegar,” said Kocher, adding that he tried his hand over various methods but fer mentation, a biological process, which lasts for about 25 to 28 days, proved successful.
“Through this process, I was able to produce natural sugarcane and grape vinegar, which have been approved by Research Evaluation Committee (REC), PAU,” he informed.
In 2013, commercialisation of the vinegar produced by Kocher was also flagged off by the university. “It is sold in the glass bottles at a nominal price. We have trained many in the technique used by us and many have also started selling it. We are open to train anyone who wants to learn the technology as it can help in saving many lives,” opined Kocher.
After the publication of his research in PAU’s Jour nal of Research, followed by publication in Journal of Food Science and Technology, it got published in many other inter national research journals from time to time.
Interestingly, India’s Department of Food Science and Technology have approached Kocher to take his research on the national level and so far, he has got a green signal from Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.