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A recent FIU study evaluates the use of scent-discriminating canines for the detection of laurel wilt-affected wood from avocado trees.

Julian Mendel and Dr. DeEtta Mills, from the International Forensic Science Institute (IFRI), along with Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Provost and Executive Vice President of FIU, have ferreted out a possible solution to a serious issue in one corner of the horticultural industry, and then ascertained the extent to which this solution is effective.

During the course of the study, 229 trials were performed, and only 12 of those yielded false alerts. It was observed that dogs are indeed capable of high levels of relevant performance, even in harsh weather conditions such as high heat and humidity. The study provided proof that dogs can detect agricultural diseases such as laurel wilt and can be a powerful management tool if the disease is caught in its earliest stages.

The results of this study are presented in their article “An Evaluation of Scent-discriminating Canines for Rapid Response to Agricultural Diseases” published in the latest issue of HortTechnology.

Read the full Science Daily article to learn more.