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Canine Oil Detection – Using Odor Signatures to Improve Training Detection Proficiency on Land and Water

Office/Division Program
Project Number
Research Initiation Date (Award Date)
Research Performing Activity
Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
Research Principal Investigator
Lauryn DeGreeff
Research Contract Award Value

The objectives of this research are first to determine the odor profile associated with spilled and obscured petroleum products used by the canine for detection and then use this knowledge to probe current canine detection limitations. The Naval Research Laboratory will develop and optimize methods of analysis for weathered crude oil using solid phase microextraction (SPME) with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and liquid injection with GC-MS for odor profile assessment. Chiron K9 will perform all canine training and testing. Oversight for both laboratory and canine testing will be provided by Owens Coastal Consultants to ensure operational work relevance.

Latest progress update

The purpose of the Optimized Fluorometry project is to evaluate and collect scientific evidence of the capabilities of existing commercially-off-the-shelf (COTS) fluorometers to detect dispersed oil in relevant field conditions. A recent preliminary study at the New Jersey Institute of Technology suggests that as oils weather, the known shift in aromatic compounds which fluoresce is resulting in the oil to be “excited” by COTS fluorometers in a range that is outside the detection ability of current instruments. This work may identify improved excitation/detection wavelength bands for future development of underwater fluorescence monitoring devices.

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