Bacterium detects landmine

News - 10 November 2014 - Webredactie Communication

During the iGEM competition at MIT in Boston, a team of students from TU Delft, Leiden University and the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences presented ELECTRACE, a bacterium that can be used to search for landmines. The team won the prize for the best microfluidics project.

How does it work?

The bacterium detects soil contamination that occurs because mines leak small amounts of chemicals that are then spread via the ground water. When these chemicals are detected, the bacterium emits an electrical signal. Team leader Anne Meyer: “This is a great example of how fundamental research can be used for practical applications with a huge social impact”. The team also developed a special detector device that can be produced for just three euros. This inexpensive technology could make it possible for people who live in areas contaminated by landmines to check their own fields.

Group photo of Team ELECTRACE

Competition at MIT

For the iGEM competition students are challenged to develop a yeast or bacterium with a new application.  No fewer than 245 teams from all over the world came together at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston to present their ideas during a major conference.

Excerpt from an item on BNR news radio on ELECTRACE.