Scientists create glowing bacteria to locate mines

Apr 13, 2017, 5:29 AM EDT

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have created a molecularly-engineered bacterium that glows in the vicinity of buried explosives, helping security personnel clear deadly minefields safely and more efficiently.

The study published in the journal “Nature Biology” found that buried landmines leak traces of explosive vapors, which can be used as markers by specially engineered bacteria that emit fluorescent signals on exposure to built-up emissions, writes Seeker.

More than 100 million unexploded munitions are still buried in over 70 countries, posing life threat to a large population in addition to denying access to economically important farmland or commercial roadways, notes The Times of Israel.

The scientists are working on improving the scanning speed and sensitivity of the new bacteria sensor along with making the apparatus more compact so it can be deployed on unmanned drones, virtually eliminating all risk involved in tracking underground explosives.