A novel gas sensing system based on a tunable fiber Bragg grating (FBG) and a Super luminescent light emitting diode (SLED) source is proposed for trace gas sensing. Such a system has been demonstrated for precise detection of acetylene (C2H2) using wavelength modulation spectroscopy technique (WMS) based on modulating the Bragg wavelength of FBG within the width of an absorption line of a target gas. The sensing system has been calibrated against specific gas concentrations (ppm) through controlled experiments and the minimum detectable acetylene (C2H2) gas concentration is experimentally found to be ∼ 80 ppm (0.008% by volume). Furthermore, the detection limit of the system is estimated to be limited by the noise floor of our system at ∼ 7 ppm (0.0007% by volume). The proposed system provides a relatively inexpensive alternative for trace gas sensing based on a well-established FBG technology. Moreover, the proposed system has tremendous potential for simultaneous detection of multiple species through the use of a cascaded set of carefully chosen FBGs. © 2016 SPIE.