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Application of a Low-Cost Electronic Nose for the Detection of Forest Tree Pathogens †

Tomasz Oszako
Piotr Borowik
Rafał Tarakowski
Sławomir Ślusarski
Miłosz Tkaczyk
Przemysław Wacławik
2 and
Justyna Anna Nowakowska
Forest Protection Department, Forest Research Institute, Braci Leśnej 3, 05-090 Sękocin Stary, Poland
Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University of Technology, 00-662 Warsaw, Poland
Faculty of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Institute of Biological Sciences, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw, 01-938 Warsaw, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 9th International Symposium on Sensor Science, Warsaw, Poland, 20–22 June 2022.
Eng. Proc. 2022, 21(1), 19;
Published: 24 August 2022
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The 9th International Symposium on Sensor Science)


Several techniques can be used for the detection and analysis of odors. Among them, electronic noses emerged as a rapid and non-invasive diagnostic tool with various applications ranging from the food industry to medical diagnosis or forestry and agriculture. The concept of an electronic nose consists of using an array of nonspecific gas sensors equipped with machine learning pattern recognition algorithms. A few devices based on MOX (metal-oxide) commercially available sensors (Figaro Inc., Osaka, Japan) have been constructed in our laboratory. The operation of developed devices consisted of measuring sensors’ conductivity, carried out as a response to changing operation conditions by moving sensors from clean air to the vicinity of the sample where volatile organic components are present. Additionally, the sensors’ operation in various working temperatures was exploited. Our goal was to develop an inexpensive and effective tool for the early detection of tree diseases caused by pathogenic oomycetes such as fungi. The devices were tested, both on pure cultures of cultivated organisms, and in interaction with infected plants. Distinguishing between the pathogenic oomycetes Phytophthora plurivora and Pythium intermedium, and the fungi Fusarium oxysporum and Rhizoctonia solani, by detecting the odors of their volatile secondary metabolites has been reported. Information about which pathogen we are dealing with in forest nurseries allows us to design an appropriate plant protection strategy (e.g., selecting appropriate pesticides). Experiments aiming to detect the fungal infection of tree seeds during storage were also performed on English oak (Quercus robur) acorns and silver fir (Abies alba) seeds. Additionally, studies of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) dieback caused by Hymenoscyphus fraxineus pathogenic fungi using a PEN3 electronic nose device (portable electronic nose, Airsense Analytics GmbH, Schwerin, Germany) were performed by measuring infected roots and soil.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, P.B. and T.O.; methodology, M.T.; software, P.B.; validation, P.B., S.Ś. and J.A.N.; formal analysis, M.T.; investigation, M.T.; resources, R.T. and T.O.; data curation, P.B. and R.T.; writing—original draft preparation, J.A.N.; writing—review and editing, T.O.; visualization, P.W.; supervision, S.Ś.; project administration, S.Ś.; funding acquisition, P.W. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This work was supported by the National Centre for Research and Development by the grant agreement BIOSTRATEG3/347105/9/NCBR/2017.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Oszako, T.; Borowik, P.; Tarakowski, R.; Ślusarski, S.; Tkaczyk, M.; Wacławik, P.; Nowakowska, J.A. Application of a Low-Cost Electronic Nose for the Detection of Forest Tree Pathogens. Eng. Proc. 2022, 21, 19.

AMA Style

Oszako T, Borowik P, Tarakowski R, Ślusarski S, Tkaczyk M, Wacławik P, Nowakowska JA. Application of a Low-Cost Electronic Nose for the Detection of Forest Tree Pathogens. Engineering Proceedings. 2022; 21(1):19.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Oszako, Tomasz, Piotr Borowik, Rafał Tarakowski, Sławomir Ślusarski, Miłosz Tkaczyk, Przemysław Wacławik, and Justyna Anna Nowakowska. 2022. "Application of a Low-Cost Electronic Nose for the Detection of Forest Tree Pathogens" Engineering Proceedings 21, no. 1: 19.

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