Saturday, January 9, 2010

Genetically modified plants used to detect landmines

       This is actually a scientific research or experiment carried by some Danish scientists in Aresa biotechnology.They have done experiments on this particular plant for more than one year and they have finally reached for the success.They have showed this particular genetically modified plant can detect three different types of landmines.
The theory behind this is little bit more complex but try to get the idea of it by this following diagram by the Aresa.
genetically modified plants used to detect landmines
Red for landmine: A diagram from Aresa showing the process of TNT degrading to nitrogen dioxide which is detected by the GM tobacco plants, turning them red.
                                Credit for this diagram should go to aresa
Usually tobacco plants only produce this pigment in their flowers changing their colour to pink but genetically modified plants will get stimulated by compounds in the soil and change their colour of leaves due to induction of red pigment production

The theory behind this :-
genetically modified plants used to detect landmines
anthocyanin ( a red pigment ) in the presence of break down products of trinitrotoluene ( a bit harder to pronounce ) also known as TNT. TNT is an explosive often found in landmines. The involving product from this break down is nitrogen dioxide ( NO2 ) gas.
   As you also know that to bury a landmine it just costs only 3 dollars but to de-mine them it costs more than 2000 dollars per mine.
   In presence of landmines the colour of the leaves of the GM tobacco plants will be changed from green to orange after about 3-5 weeks after growth.
    I hope you got the idea of this process and please be kind enough to make a comment about this post.



  1. i heard that there are twice as many landmines in use today as there are people on the planet. anything that helps to remove these awful weapons has got to be a good thing and presumably, this enzyme detection could also be applied to un-exploded cluster bombs or even ammunition dumps?

    but consider that using this technology would involve the release of genetically modified plants into the 'wild' environment. would there be a clean up cost for that afterwards?
    not all explosives use trinitrotoluene (pronounced as tri-nitro-tol-yoo-een) based chemicals and some munitions are smaller than others. what is the sensitivity and indeed specificity of these plants?
    and tobacco does not grow in certain climates or conditions. would these plants require further modification to grow in colder countries or in a sandy environment (such as a beach where mines have been used to prevent naval landings)?

  2. Doc, u r correct but as i have heared that this has served the army very much to clear out many landmines .. isnt it? This will also bring a limit 4 the deaths occuring during demining...

  3. oh i am certainly not wishing to suggest that this technology isn't a brilliant use of genetic principles and the cause is so important.

    i have not yet read of or heard any case study of this technology used in situ either by a military, scientific or contract group but if you could direct me to one i would be very interested to have a look.

  4. friend of mine saw the link and sent this on.

    'Noticed your comments on the article about land mines - couldn't comment on it (it was someone else's link), but there is a more simple way of using plants to detect land mines and you don't even need to GM them.

    Select short growing plants that can grow over a large land mass (simple field flowers will do, depending on location) - now consider the effect of having a large lump of metal directly underneath will have on the growth of the plant. This phenomenon has been observed in the Korean DMZ. there are still issues with specificity and sensitivity and this would always be a presumptive test, but then so would a GM plant. There is no such thing as definity for things like this. This is simply a screening method.

    This technique has also been used to screen for mass graves - all those bodies provide an excellent source of nutrients for plants and so you can get patches of extremely well grown plants - again a screening method rather than an analytical method.

    Just thought you maybe interested

    G '

  5. well done man..............keep it up.........

  6. good choice of the subject!!! that's seems interesting!!!

  7. Thnx really i like it and wish u all the best and success in ur study and life , thnx


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