Near infrared imaging:

Method for molecular analysis

Near infrared fluorescence (NIR) detection is a method that can reveal what kinds of chemicals are present in a sample based on their physical properties. By hitting a sample with near infrared light, chemical bonds in the sample vibrate and re-release the light energy at a wavelength characteristic for a specific molecule or chemical bond. For example, if near infrared light is fired at a sample of carbon dioxide, an NIR imaging machine would pick up fluorescence (re-released light energy) with a wavelength of 0.0042 centimetres. Carbon dioxide is a simple molecule with only one kind of chemical bond; molecules with several bonds fluoresce light at a collection of wavelengths corresponding to the composition and complexity of the chemical.

It is not yet known if the differences between GMOs and conventional plants are large enough to detect with NIR imaging.


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