IMAGINE A machine that could just take a sniff and give you the levels of insects and other contaminants in your stored grain. The electronic nose is set to be able to do just that.
With its array of sensors, the electronic nose is potentially able not only to detect the millions of chemicals that a human nose already can, but also to reliably measure the concentrations of those chemicals. A further benefit of the electronic nose is that it cannot be poisoned by toxins.
While still a 'work in progress ', according to scientists developing the technology for stored grains, the potential applications are limitless.
"An electronic nose could measure anything that produces volatile chemicals - insects, moulds, chemical contaminants, residues from storage treatments and even differences in grain quality," says Rainer Renss, a scientist with CSIRO Entomology.
The technology is not new - it has been widely used in the food industry to monitor specific food quality criteria. Current grain industry research is focusing on removing the effect of grain moisture content, and calibrating the instrumentation to deal with the types of problems typically found in grain storages.
Contact: Dr Rainer Reuss 02 6246 4210 email Rainer.Reuss@csiro.au