Now, bacteria to detect landmines

Monday, 16 November 2009 - 5:55pm IST | Place: London | Agency: ANI
The bacteria could be mixed into a colourless solution, which forms green patches when sprayed near or over the ground where landmines are buried.

British scientists have developed a new test to detect landmines using bacteria that glow green when they come in contact with chemicals leaked from the buried explosives.


Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have created the bacteria.
 
According to scientists, the bacteria could be mixed into a colourless solution, which forms green patches when sprayed near or over the ground where landmines are buried.


Researchers say the organism is not only cost-effective to produce and cheaper than the existing sensors used for landmine detection but can also be delivered through the air to areas believed to be infested with landmines. The detection would be done in a few hours.


"This anti-mine sensor is a great example of how innovation in science can be of benefit to wider society. It also demonstrates how new scientific techniques can allow molecules to be designed for a specific purpose," the Scotsman quoted Dr Alistair Elfick of the University's School of Engineering, as saying.


However, a spokesman for the Halo Trust, a charity specialising in landmine detection and clearance, was sceptical about this new method.


He said: "Similar ideas have come out in the past, such as plants that will grow a certain colour when exposed to explosive traces."


He added: "A more interesting concept would be funding mine clearance and donating money to proven technology that is achieving results."


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