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Novel sensor approaches to sniff out biosecurity threats (BMSB, QFF) – extended in 2022

Biosecurity outcome

Two novel sniffer technologies will be produced for the real time detection of pests on the basis of their unique aromas:

  • Handheld sniffer device – a tuneable sensor that can screen fresh produce and inanimate commodities arriving as cargo for multiple pests (initial targets: QFF-infested fruit and BMSB. The device will detect the fingerprint aroma of the pest and be an essential tool used by MPI officers at the border in the long term.
  • Remote sniffer device – a low cost device for detecting hitchhiker pests in containers during shipment (initial target: BMSB). This device will specifically detect pest biomarker volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and be inserted into containers prior to shipment to NZ. Upon arrival in NZ, MPI staff will scan the device through the container walls to determine if inspection is required.

Science outcome

Two novel biosensor technology platforms will be developed:

  • Handheld sniffer device –we will pioneer the development of a biosensor technology which uses an array of powerful insect odorant receptors (iORs) to detect VOCs from the air. iORs are yet to be exploited in any sensor technology.
  • Remote sniffer device –We will pioneer the development of DNA aptamer based biosensors for the ultrasensitive detection of biomarker VOCs. DNA aptamer based sensors are yet to be applied to VOC detection.