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Inscentinel was a firm based at Rothamsted Experimental Station in Hertfordshire. They specialise in the development of insect olfaction technologies[1][2] for the detection of trace chemicals, specifically Hymenoptera training techniques and technologies.[3]


Inscentinel was founded in 2000, and was a spin-out resulting from a joint venture project between Unilever[4] and Rothamstead Research.[5] The firm was backed with venture capital,[6][7] funding from the British Government,[8] and other investment.[9]

According to Bloomberg, Insectinel went out of business in September of 2015. [10]


Conventionally, detection of chemicals at low vapor pressures has been based on mass spectrometry, gas chromatography and the use of sniffer dogs. Insect olfaction is sensitive down to parts per trillion[11] and the use of insects to conduct searches for illegal drugs, and explosives[12]—particularly in security[8] applications such as demining—is envisaged.[13] The technology has been tested by QinetiQ for Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining.[14] Potential health uses are also reported,[15] such as for TB.[16] Inscentinel is a patent holder.[17][18] The species of bee used is Apis mellifera.[19]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Inscentinel Ltd". USA Today Website. USA Today. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  2. ^ "sniffer bees". CNet News. Cnet. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Inscentinel trains sniffer bees to detect bombs". ICIS website. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Pearson Matthews Research & Development". PMUK Website. PMUK. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Companies associated with Rothamsted Research". Rothamsted Research Website. Rothamsted Research. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  6. ^ "OT3 Annual Statement" (PDF). Oxford Technology 3 Annual Statement. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  7. ^ "Portfolio - Environmental Technologies". Midven Website. Midven. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Oxford Early Investments Newsletter" (PDF). Oxford Early Investments Website. Oxford Early Investments. Retrieved Dec 2007. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Bloomberg Company Overview of Inscentinel Ltd".
  10. ^ "Inscentinel Develops Bee-Based Sensor Device to Detect Explosives". AZO Sensors website. AZO sensors. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Sniffer bees set to snare suicide bombers". This is London Website. This Is London. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Inscentinel Honeybees Sniff For Explosives: Science Fiction in the NewsInscentinel Honeybees Sniff For Explosives: Science Fiction in the News". Science Profiles Website. Science Profiles. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Pre-Trial Assessment (PTA) of the Inscentinel system using bees for detection of explosives". GICHD Website. GICHD. Retrieved 3 March 2012.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Bees Can Sniff Out Disease in Humans". Daily Express Website. Express Group Newspapers. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Detection of odors using insects". Justia Patents Website. Justia. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Insect Loading System". PatentStormUS. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  18. ^ Khot, Anna. "Humble Honey Bee Helping National Security". Naked Scientists Website. Naked Scientists. Retrieved 3 March 2012.