Inside Europe | 02.08.2008 | 07:05
Genetically modified tobacco could help to locate landmines
Tobacco might be a much maligned plant for our health but it potentially could help to save lives.
A Danish bio-technology firm has genetically modified a tobacco plant to make its leaves change colour - from green to red - when it detects nitrogen dioxide. A compound known to leach into the soil from landmines.
In many parts of the world anti-personnel landmines remain a deadly legacy of conflict that kill thousands of people every year. Clearing mines is a costly, labour intensive and dangerous process.
Sniffer dogs, armoured vehicles and robots can be used to detect and clear mines but much of the work by demining teams must be done manually. Sowing mine infested land with the genetically modified tobacco could help to locate landmines quickly from a distance.
Steen Thaarup is the CEO of Aresa in Copenhagen and says the firm is about to commence field trials in Serbia next week.
Interview: Guy Degen /Steen Thaarup