London, Nov 20 (Inditop.com) A simple, cheap and accurate test finds undetected landmines in a jiffy.
Landmines and unexploded ordnance kill between 15,000 and 20,000 unsuspecting people every year, according to Handicap International.
Students from the University of Edinburgh (U-E) have created a custom-made bacteria that glows green when it comes into contact with chemicals leaked by buried explosives.
The bacteria can be mixed into a colourless solution that, when sprayed on to the ground, forms green patches to indicate the presence of landmines.
“This anti-mine sensor is a great example of how innovation in science can be of benefit to wider society,” said Alistair Elfick of the U-E School of Engineering, who co-supervised the project.
Researchers say that the organism, which is cheap to produce, could be delivered from the air onto areas thought to contain landmines, with results available within a few hours. The bacteria is not dangerous to people or animals.
Global hotspots like Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mozambique and Cambodia are among the 87 countries bristling with minefields, said a U-E release.
Scientists and engineers were able to create the bacteria with an emerging technique known as BioBricking.
The tool enables bacteria molecules to be assembled from a range of tiny parts like a very small-scale machine.