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Innovative biological sensor detects hidden disease in potatoes

During the process of rotting, caused by microorganisms, plants emit various volatile organic compounds into their surrounding environment, which can be monitored for early detection of plant disease and prevent food loss.

A new study published in Talanta and led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) and the Israel's Agricultural Research Organization (Volcani Institute) details the success of a biological sensor for early detection of hidden disease in potato tubers, one of Israel's chief export industries at 700,000 tons a year.

The Hebrew University-Volcani alliance has developed a sensor that detects disease and can be used to inhibit the rot from growing and spreading. The sensor relies on smart bioengineering and optics. When the sensor is exposed to an infected potato, a bacterial compound within lights up—with the strength of the luminescence indicating the concentration and composition of the rot.

The biosensor will help identify diseased potatoes that do not yet have any external indications, and keep them away from healthy tubers, thus preventing the rot from developing or spreading to other healthy plants.

Source: phys.org


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