The crop that can find buried landmines and bombs

Abandoned, unexploded landmines are a big killer in countries that have been subject to ongoing conflict. Unicef estimates the figure to be in the vicinity of 20,000 people a year killed or maimed. One in five of these victims are estimated to be children. Working in agriculture and farming poses a particularly high risk as buried munitions are uncovered.

Enter bomb-detection spinach...  

As it turns out, plants are excellent at analysing the chemicals present in the soil. Scientists have engineered a variant of spinach that glows under a flourescent light when it grows over buried weapons. The plant reacts to the chemicals that buried landmines and bombs leach into the soil. The reaction can be picked up by infra-red light with the resulting 'find' being sent to a linked mobile phone or computer. 

If the technology can be transferred from the lab to the field, scientists may have come up with a way to save a great number of lives.    

landmines