Take bee line to safety

September 9, 2005

Romanian students have trained honeybees to find landmines as part of a project funded by Microsoft.

The team started work with the bees after US researchers found that chemicals from landmines often leached out into nearby plants and flowers, leaving traces in the pollen gathered by the insect.

The team has now won funding from the Microsoft-funded "Windows Embedded Student Challenge" to continue its work.

Selective breeding has enabled the Romanian team to find a bee that was attracted to landmine-contaminated pollen. By using monitoring equipment, the team can scan each bee for traces of chemicals such as TNT as it returns to the hive.

A spokesman from the University of Iasi in eastern Romania, where the project team is based, said: "Bees that have found a good source of pollen will return to the same spot, navigating by the sun, so bees that have selected contaminated pollen from a plant near a landmine can be followed straight to landmine-infected plants."

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments