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Holden Hohaia and Melanie Mark-Shadbolt appointed to the B3 Collaboration Council Read More

Novel sensor approaches to sniff out biosecurity threats (BMSB, QFF)

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.

Key end users/stakeholders

Implementation:    Proof of concept and high risk approach.  MPI, including Research Technology and Innovation and Border Technology teams are updated with progress through the monthly reports and occasional emails/calls.  A number of Australian entities (larger market for QFF) have been approached as potential partners for implementation including Fruit Growers Tasmania), Biosecurity Tasmania, PIRSA, SA), Domestic Quarantine, DEDJTR, Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Committee).  IP and commercialisation being managed by PFR.