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Biological Threats to be Detected by Griffith University

Griffith University researchers have developed a system that can quickly detect airborne biological threats.

Professor Igor Agranovski, of the School of Engineering, has developed a system that collects aerosolised micro-organisms and finds the threats, such as fungi spores, viruses and bacteria. Such a system could be crucial to soldiers in the field or post-event investigations.

The researchers won contracts with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) through the Defence Innovation Fund to complete the prototyping of the system. It follows on from Professor Jin Song Dong’s contract in June to develop autonomous underwater vehicles.

Aerosolisation is when a physical substance is converted into particles small and light enough to be suspended and transmitted in the air. That could be through a spray, like and aerosol nebuliser, or through a natural process, like a sneeze or cough.

“I started my research in the area of bioaerosols in the year of 2000 in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Cincinnati, USA,” Professor Agranovski said.

“When the system is complete and being used it will be capable of early detection of presence on airborne pathogenic microorganisms, enabling more timely use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the launch of corresponding sanitary and quarantine actions.

“This will improve human protection, and not just armed services people. It could used in any civilian circumstance where there is a possibility of contact with airborne pathogens.”

Griffith Enterprise has been working closely with several researchers whose work could have defence application for a number of years.

The Defence Innovation Hub was launched in December 2016, and has invested around $20 million in industry and research organisations across Australia to mature and further develop defence technologies. Its expects to spend a total of $1.6 billion.

Minister for Defence Industry, Hon Christopher Pyne announced the new projects as boosts to ADF capability.

“These investments will drive growth in defence industry and innovation whilst focusing on the capability needs required to ensure Australia’s national security now and into the future,” Minister Pyne said.

“I look forward to seeing more of these valuable and exciting ideas as we harness the innovation potential of Australia’s defence industry through the Defence Innovation Hub.”

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