Bruce Grieve of Manchester University in the United Kingdom will develop a low-cost, stereo-printed sensor that mimics plant leaves and stems and can detect and signal the presence of live pathogens as an early warning system to help protect crops in low-resource settings. They will demonstrate proof-of-concept of their approach in the laboratory by designing three dimensional sensors with specific patterns of cells and chemically-doped polymers to identify an ideal surface on which pathogenic fungal spores can grow and differentiate. Incorporated sensor cells will be designed to detect the live pathogens and produce a detectable response, such as a visible density change, and results can be stored locally or transmitted wirelessly. They will test different sensor designs for the detection of rust pathogens in wheat. Their approach can be adapted to detect multiple pathogens simultaneously, including viruses, as well as for human and livestock pathogens, and when deployed in the field can ultimately be linked to national surveillance systems.
More information about Tools and Technologies for Broad-Scale Disease Surveillance of Crop Plants in Low-Income Countries (Round 21)