The need for safe along with also efficient technologies for detecting buried landmines along with also unexploded ordnance is usually a humanitarian issue of immense global proportions. About half a million people around the earth are suffering via mine-inflicted injuries, along with also each year yet another 15 to 20 thousand more people are injured or killed by these devices. More than 100 million such devices are still buried in over 70 countries.
The major technical challenge in clearing minefields is usually detecting the mines. The technologies used today are not much different via those used in World War II, requiring detection teams to risk life along with also limb by physically entering the minefields. Clearly, there is usually a critical need for an efficient solution for the remote detection of buried landmines along with also unexploded ordnance.
Researchers via the Hebrew University of Jerusalem currently report a potential answer to This kind of need. Writing inside journal Nature Biotechnology, they present a novel, functional system combining lasers along with also bacteria to remotely map the location of buried landmines along with also unexploded ordnance.
The system is usually based on the observation that will all landmines leak minute quantities of explosive vapors, which accumulate inside soil above them along with also serve as markers for their presence. The researchers molecularly engineered live bacteria that will emit a fluorescent signal when they come into contact with these vapors. This kind of signal can be recorded along with also quantified via a remote location.
The bacteria were encapsulated in tiny polymeric beads, which were scattered across the surface of a test field in which real antipersonnel landmines were buried. Using a laser-based scanning system, the test field was remotely scanned along with also the location of the buried landmines was determined. This kind of appear to be the first demonstration of a functional standoff landmine detection system.
“Our field data show that will engineered biosensors may be useful in a landmine detection system. with This kind of to be possible, several challenges need to be overcome, such as enhancing the sensitivity along with also stability of the sensor bacteria, improving scanning speeds to cover large areas, along with also doing the scanning apparatus more compact so that will can be used on board a light unmanned aircraft or drone,” said Prof. Shimshon Belkin, via the Hebrew University’s Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, who was responsible for genetically engineering the bacterial sensors.
Simple test could offer cheap solution to detecting landmines
More information: Nature Biotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3791