The Strage Foundation and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have announced the 2019 winner of the Strage-BGU Award for Excellence in Environmental Sciences:
Prof. Shimshon Belkin of the Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Based on a small-scale field experiment, the winning article suggests a new way to detect anti-personnel mines by using genetically engineered bacteria.
The article shows that using a bacterial sensor strain, sprayed on the soil, the location of the buried landmines can be discovered by localized areas of fluorescence generated through the response of the genetically engineered bioreporters to the explosives’ vapors. Advanced technology can promote the detection of landmines and explosive substances thus enabling their removal from large areas in the environment without the risks involved in active personnel search on the ground.
Given the amount of old mines and explosive materials distributed throughout the world, the Award committee highly appreciates the potential contribution of the paper to reduce the negative environmental impacts of these materials and to save lives of humans and animals.