In Field Technologies

Electronic Nose

The Technology

An e-nose is an array of chemical sensors that differentially respond to odours, producing a digital electronic fingerprint of specific ones. Pattern recognition software can then compare these fingerprints to standard libraries of known odours, produced by plants in response to attack by insects and diseases.

How it Works

Complex sensor arrays capture volatile organic chemicals given off by host plants when attacked by specific fungi and insects. Sensor signals are modulated by conditioning circuits, and pattern recognition software classifies the chemical odours. Field capture is difficult, because the environmental parameters are uncontrollable and changeable.

Farmer / Agronomist Benefits

Because it’s a non-invasive technique, the technology holds promise for crop disease detection at asymptomatic stages. This is important for devising precision interventions to prevent pests and disease spread. Portable e-nose systems have been devised for food inspection and air quality monitoring and with further research, could be a critical component of future field disease and pest detection strategies.

Hutchinsons is part of an Innovate UK group developing a Volatile Organic Compound detector for soil health in conjunction with PES Technologies.

Key Stakeholders

PES Technologies

North Carolina State University

Manchester University

Scentroid (air quality)


Aroma Bit


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