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Funding fillip for advanced biosecurity system

Funding fillip for advanced biosecurity system development

22 August, 2007

AgResearch Chief Scientist Dr Stephen Goldson says the $2.5 million funding for research into advanced sensors for biosecurity granted to the CRI in the latest Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST) funding round will help New Zealand to develop its growing reputation in biosecurity and the associated development of biosecurity technologies.

The funding will be allocated over a five year period and will enable AgResearch to continue and enhance its existing research and development in the area, he says.

“AgResearch applauds the further funding for this scientific research into the detection of biological threats carried in shipping containers. It is essential that our primary industries, which are the bedrock of our economy, are protected as much as possible from biological threats that can arrive in the country.

“As we become increasingly interconnected with the rest of the world through air and sea links, the more likely it is that unwanted, invasive species will arrive here,” says Dr Goldson.

He says the technology developed through the FRST funding has potential applications for biosecurity agencies around the world.

“The further development of these technologies will go a long way towards positioning New Zealand as an international leader in the field of advanced biosecurity detection technologies.”

He says there are other potential applications for the technology outside biosecurity that include uses by customs and enforcement agencies.

Part of the funding will be used to carry out the underpinning research needed for AgResearch’s subsidiary ContainerScan Ltd. This company focuses on providing services and technologies for container biosecurity.

Based on sampling systems developed by AgResearch, the ContainerScan system samples, concentrates and analyses molecules found in air pockets trapped in shipping containers. In this way, minute quantities of chemicals associated with unwanted organisms and substances can be detected.


ENDS

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