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Ongoing project

Electrochemical pest detection (BY22007)

Key research provider: Macquarie University

What's it all about?

This investment is developing a standalone electrochemical detection system for invasive pest insects that is readily deployable in shipping containers and adaptable to other settings. This will protect horticultural crops in Australia by reducing risk of incursions by exotic insect pests.

The research team will achieve this by developing an ultrasensitive electrochemical system for targeted volatile organic compounds emitted by target insects at all stage of their lifecycle. The unit will be portable, user-friendly and provide real-time results that will allow the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) to intercept suspicious containers before any pest insects escape into the environment.

This proposed system is a portable, cost effective, sensitive and user-friendly instrument that wirelessly provides real-time signals immediately transmittable to a mobile phone. By detecting a distinctive volatile organic compound emitted by a specific insect pest, a unique advantage of this system is its ability to perform on-site/real-time detection of invasive insects including those residing deeply inside packaging, without the need to manually transport collected samples back to a laboratory for further analysis, which delays action. This detector lends itself to multiple applications beyond the detection of invasive pests in imported and exported goods, such as the presence of varroa mites in beehives and detection of pests in stored products.