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Glowing bacteria and lasers can now be used to detect landmines buried under the surface.

Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed the technique which can prove to be a secure way for the removal of these devices.

The researchers located the field of the unexploded mines with the help of engineered bacteria which glows when it makes contact with the vapor that is released by the mines.

Describing their study in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the researchers explained that the bacteria contains the ability to detect armed landmines by the tiny quantities of explosive vapor that the mines release and is build up on the soil above them. The bacteria then, gives off a fluorescent color when it makes contact with the vapors. It is detected by a laser system and can be easily recorded from a distance by the disposal teams.

According to The Telegraph, approximately 110 million armed mines are buried in over 70 countries and have caused around 20,000 injuries and deaths per year.

With the technique of glowing bacteria, different teams can locate the buried landmines and then dispose them which marks a safer way.

The researchers informed that the technique was tried out in a test field which had real antipersonnel landmines scattered on it and proved to be a success.

One of the scientists from the study, Professor Shimshon Belkin, stated, “Our field data show that engineered biosensors may be useful in a landmine detection system. For this to be possible, several challenges need to be overcome, such as enhancing the sensitivity and stability of the sensor bacteria, improving scanning speeds to cover large areas, and making the scanning apparatus more compact so it can be used on board a light unmanned aircraft or drone.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2017

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