Glowing bacteria could help locate landmines

By | November 17, 2009

Glowing bacteria could help locate landmines

Edinburgh researchers believe new custom chemical could provide a cheap and effective way of finding unexploded mines.

Scientists at Edinburgh University believe they have developed a way to spot undetected landmines.

Students at the institution have developed a custom-made bacteria which glows green when it comes into with the chemicals which leak from buried explosives.

Once mixed with other colourless liquids, the formula can be sprayed on the ground to identify dangerous areas.

The project used new technology, known as BioBricking, which enables bespoke bacteria molecules to be assembled for specific purposes.

Researchers say it could provide a cheap and reliable way of spotting hidden explosives. When sprayed from the air, the solution would offer an indication of areas to avoid within a few hours, without causing any harm to people or animals.

The charity Handicap International says landmines currently cause between 15,000 and 20,000 deaths each year.

Minefields have been discovered in 87 countries, including Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Experts currently use landmine sensors to identify unexploded ordnance, but the team behind the new chemical believes it could provide a safer and more cost effective alternative in future.

Dr Alistair Elfick of the University's School of Engineering said: “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.”

cientists at Edinburgh University believe they have developed a way to spot undetected landmines.

Students at the institution have developed a custom-made bacteria which glows green when it comes into with the chemicals which leak from buried explosives.

via Glowing bacteria could help locate landmines | Edinburgh and East | STV News.

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