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Kasturi Chitre: A Pioneer in Food Science and Quality Assurance

Kasturi Chitre emerges as a distinguished figure in the domain of food science and quality assurance, boasting a remarkable journey marked by academic prowess and professional achievements. Commencing her career at the age of 21 as a dietitian in a prestigious hospital post her BS degree in Dietetics, Kasturi swiftly ascended the ranks, assuming responsibilities for managing a general ward while showcasing an innate talent for innovation.

Throughout her tenure, Kasturi led the charge in pioneering research endeavours, most notably crafting a replica/model of the human digestive system. This innovative approach allowed her to delve into the intricate effects of fermentation on nutrient bioavailability. Her groundbreaking work earned accolades from the Association of Food Scientists and Technologists, cementing her status as a trailblazer within the industry.

Continuing her academic journey, Kasturi pursued a Master’s degree in Food Science at the age of 26, directing her research towards the intricate influence of rice milling processes on vitamin E isomers. Employing a meticulous methodology, she meticulously replicated processing steps within the laboratory, exemplifying her unwavering dedication to thorough scientific investigation.

As Kasturi seamlessly transitioned into the sphere of quality assurance within the Food and Beverage industry, her expertise flourished. Progressing through various roles from Product Researcher to Senior Product Researcher, and ultimately to Product Quality Manager, she demonstrated a versatile skill set and a deep understanding of the sector. Her impact extended far beyond technical aspects, encompassing vital areas such as client and vendor management, laboratory oversight, and the development of comprehensive testing protocols.

Kasturi’s impact reverberates across the industry, leaving an indelible mark through a plethora of accomplishments. One such milestone includes spearheading a remarkable five-fold increase in a major retailer’s quality assurance program, propelling the company to new heights of excellence and consumer trust. Moreover, she undertook the Herculean task of establishing an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation program from scratch, a testament to her organizational acumen and commitment to upholding the highest standards of quality and integrity. Her adeptness in designing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and protocols for Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) has become synonymous with excellence, setting new benchmarks for industry best practices. Kasturi’s pioneering work in High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) has not only revolutionized scientific methodologies but has also opened new avenues for precision and accuracy in food analysis.

Beyond her professional achievements, Kasturi contributions to academia and discourse are equally noteworthy. Through her insightful publications and engaging blogs, she continues to push the boundaries of knowledge, shedding light on emerging trends and the future of sensory testing and nutritional research.

While electronic tongues (e-tongues) are emerging as sophisticated tools for analyzing taste, their reign over human taste panels may not be imminent. E-tongues mimic taste buds by detecting flavor molecules and converting them into “taste fingerprints,” enabling consistent and objective analysis. This is particularly beneficial for assessing large quantities of similar products like sweeteners or wines. However, these machines lack the subjective judgment of humans. They can’t tell you, for example, which ketchup is “better,” as personal preference hinges on complex factors of human brain functioning beyond just a chemical composition. So, for now, human tasters remain irreplaceable for understanding and catering to the diverse palates that fuel our love for classic brands in the market.

With an illustrious career marked by innovation, expertise, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, Kasturi stands as a beacon of inspiration in the field of food science and quality assurance. Her legacy serves as a guiding light for future generations, inspiring them to pursue their passions with dedication and purpose.

Sharing about her journey she says “Knowledge and Education never go in vain. It’s a forever asset earned with your own hard work. No one can take that away from you.”

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