We all know that bees are the source of honey, they are very useful in pollination. We also all get terrified from the bee venom because of the inflammation, but what will you think now if the Bee Venom is used to make explosives?
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have shown that bombolitins, which are protein fragments found in bee venom, can be used to detect single molecules of nitro-aromatic explosives such as TNT. If used in sensors at locations such as airports, those sensors would be much more sensitive than those currently in use.The MIT team started by coating the insides of carbon nanotubes with bombolitins. Then, they exposed those nanotubes to air drawn from the vicinity of various explosives. While carbon nanotubes naturally fluoresce, the wavelength of that fluoresced light changes when molecules of nitro-aromatic compounds bind with the bee-venom proteins. Although not visible to the naked eye, this shift in wavelength can be detected by a special microscope – which is what happened in the lab tests.
If developed into commercial devices, such sensors would be far more sensitive than existing explosives detectors — commonly used at airports, for example — which use spectrometry to analyze charged particles as they move through the air.The researchers also showed that the nanotubes can detect two pesticides that are nitro-aromatic compounds as well, making them potentially useful as environmental sensors. The research was funded by the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT.