'Electronic bloodhound' detects pathogens by smell

A new electronic bloodhound capable of sniffing out plant disease will shortly be available for use across the agricultural industry.

Dubbed an E-Nose, the equipment has been developed by engineers and scientists to detect crop pathogens by smell weeks before any infection becomes outwardly apparent or evident on any visual basis.

“It’s an amazing tool for early detection,” commented Kit Franklin, a lecturer of agricultural engineering at Harper Adams University.

Mr Franklin revealed the technological advance during a discussion on the latest sensors, robotics and automation at the SRUC and AHDB’s joint Agronomy 2017 (Scotland) forum, staged at Perth Racecourse this week.

He said E-Noses will potentially be able to give arable farmers as much as a two-week head start when it comes to controlling a wide variety of plant diseases – from fungi to oomycetes, bacteria, viruses and nematodes.

“The equipment can effectively smell disease long before any human is able to see it coming,” commented Mr Franklin.

Read more at The Courier

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