Lobster's Sense of Smell Could Help Detect Explosives: UF Researchers

"Lobster radar" could help lead to better electronic noses

Monday, Mar 17, 2014  |  Updated 11:36 AM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Weird News Photos: South Korean Mud Festival

Getty Images

Researchers at the University of Florida say a lobster's sense of smell could one day protect soldiers from landmines and other explosives.

Photos and Videos
More Photos and Videos

Researchers at the University of Florida say a lobster's sense of smell could one day help protect soldiers from landmines and other explosives.

UF researchers have discovered that a type of olfactory neuron in lobsters constantly discharges small bursts of electronic pulses that may help them find an odor's location when they search for food or try to avoid danger.

Now the researchers say that ability, which they call "lobster radar" could help them develop improved electronic "noses" to detect explosives.


"An electronic nose has to recognize an odor and locate its source. Finding the source has often been the job of the person handling the electronic nose," said Barry W. Ache, director of the Center for Smell and Taste in UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute.

The "lobster radar" can pinpoint a smell the same way a human can hear a train moving left to right. The finding by UF's researchers could also help scientists better understand the sense of smell in all animals, including humans.

"The involvement of bursting sensory neurons in olfactory processing is not unique to the lobster,” Yuriy Bobkov, of the UF Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience, said in a statement. "It’s likely to be a fundamental aspect of olfaction."

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our New iPad App
Now optimized for iPad, NBC 6... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out