Bees have an impressive sense of smell and New Zealand biologists now believe they may be able to train them to help identify people with tuberculosis by the faint floral odor victims of the disease develop.
“When we tested them with the tuberculosis odours we found the bees can still smell it down to parts per billion,” says Max Suckling.
Christchurch zoologists are training bees to associate the smell of the disease with a sweet treat and to stick out their tongues when it's present.
While TB is common worldwide, it is most prevalent in poverty stricken areas and the bees could provide an inexpensive screening solution for these people.
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Image Via Dendroica cerulea [Flickr]