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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service



2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The goal of this study is to develop affordable, portable, and customized sensor systems detecting pest presence and volatile organic compounds.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) that indicate the presence of insect pest infestations, insect plant damage, and pesticide applications will be identified from available literature and through gas chromatography (GC) analysis performed in cooperation with scientists within our Unit. An instrument will be developed for collecting, monitoring, and recording gas emissions from the presence of quantity of these organic compounds. The first step is to develop a method to collect the gas emissions in a confined space. Next, a means of recording the gas measurement data automatically will be developed. Instrument development involves assembly of the sensor chamber and connections between the chamber and data collection system. Gas sensors will be mounted in the ceiling of the chamber and linked to a circuit board placed on top of the chamber, which will be connected to the power source. A data acquisition module will be used to convert the output from the gas sensors to digital output for recording and analysis. The data will be processed using principal component analysis, discriminate analysis, and other analyses based on statistical pattern recognition and artificial neural networks. The system hardware, software, and platform will be tested using the compounds of interest at differing levels of concentration to ensure proper system functionality. The working system will then be tested under laboratory and field conditions for its ability to detect varying concentrations of VOC from infested plants and pesticide applications.

3. Progress Report
The goal of this project is to develop electronic nose (e-nose) technology for practical application in detecting/quantifying volatile chemicals emitted by pest or beneficial arthropods associated with agricultural crops, or volatiles associated with the crops themselves or with agrochemicals used in crop protection. In FY 2011, a commercially available e-nose instrument was used to rapidly assess/quantify the grandlure contents of lures in boll weevil eradication programs. The e-nose was "trained" to recognize headspace collections of grandlure emitted from new lures and after lures were aged under field conditions for 4, 7, 10, and 14 days. Based on cross-validation of the training set, the e-nose was 82% accurate in discriminating among the different age classes of lures. However, the e-nose identified new (0-day) and 14-day aged lure samples with 100% accuracy. In light of these findings, e-nose technology shows considerable promise as an alternative approach for rapidly assessing the initial grandlure contents of lures used in boll weevil eradication programs. Work under this project, as it continues, will likely develop additional, productive e-nose applications for U.S. agriculture. The ADODR of this project and the cooperator are located in close physical proximity and are in contact with one another on an ongoing basis. Because of this close physical relationship, the ADODR and the cooperator (or key personnel working under the cooperator) meet and discuss the direction and progress of the work on a regular basis.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 08/21/2017
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