This project began as a five-year project that was completed in mid-2022. The project was then extended for another two years.
This research project has developed two novel sensor technologies with potential to become essential biosecurity tools for detecting key insect pests along importation pathways and at the border.
With an increase in global trade comes an increased biosecurity risk in unwanted pest insect incursions via importation pathways. New technologies that can rapidly and confidently detect pests pre-border and en route are needed. We aimed to develop two novel sniffer technologies for the real time detection of insect pests on the basis of their unique volatile fingerprints.
Firstly, a tunable handheld sensor that can screen fresh produce and inanimate commodities using an array of powerful insect odorant receptors (iORs) to detect VOCs from the air (target: key volatiles emitted from fruits infested by Queensland fruit fly (QFF)). Secondly, a low-cost portable device for detecting hitchhiker pests in containers during shipment or post border; combining a specialised polymer coated sensor with a front end selectivity filter (target: tridecane, the major component of the Brown Mamorated Stink Bug (BMSB) alarm pheromone).
iORs have been recombinantly expressed, purified and stabilised in liposome and nanodisc formats. We have successfully coupled the iORs to various biosensor platforms and detected volatile compounds dissolved in solution. We are now focusing on transferring this technology into the gas phase. Concurrently, a portable prototype BMSB sensor has been developed, capable of detecting tridecane at concentrations consistent with expected levels in shipping containers.
Two novel sniffer technologies will be produced for the real time detection of pests on the basis of their unique aromas:
Two novel biosensor technology platforms will be developed:
For more information and publications on this and other B3 projects, visit Zotero.
The Zotero database is on the B3 homepage under ‘Outputs’.