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Sensors 2008, 8(7), 4062-4080; doi:10.3390/s8074062
Review

Bacterial Biosensors for Measuring Availability of Environmental Pollutants

 and *
Received: 22 May 2008; in revised form: 6 July 2008 / Accepted: 9 July 2008 / Published: 10 July 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Switzerland)
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Abstract: Traditionally, pollution risk assessment is based on the measurement of a pollutant’s total concentration in a sample. The toxicity of a given pollutant in the environment, however, is tightly linked to its bioavailability, which may differ significantly from the total amount. Physico-chemical and biological parameters strongly influence pollutant fate in terms of leaching, sequestration and biodegradation. Bacterial sensorreporters, which consist of living micro-organisms genetically engineered to produce specific output in response to target chemicals, offer an interesting alternative to monitoring approaches. Bacterial sensor-reporters detect bioavailable and/or bioaccessible compound fractions in samples. Currently, a variety of environmental pollutants can be targeted by specific biosensor-reporters. Although most of such strains are still confined to the lab, several recent reports have demonstrated utility of bacterial sensing-reporting in the field, with method detection limits in the nanomolar range. This review illustrates the general design principles for bacterial sensor-reporters, presents an overview of the existing biosensor-reporter strains with emphasis on organic compound detection. A specific focus throughout is on the concepts of bioavailability and bioaccessibility, and how bacteria-based sensing-reporting systems can help to improve our basic understanding of the different processes at work.
Keywords: whole-cell living bioreporters; luciferase; gfp; beta-galactosidase; bioremediation; synthetic biology. whole-cell living bioreporters; luciferase; gfp; beta-galactosidase; bioremediation; synthetic biology.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tecon, R.; Van der Meer, J.R. Bacterial Biosensors for Measuring Availability of Environmental Pollutants. Sensors 2008, 8, 4062-4080.

AMA Style

Tecon R, Van der Meer JR. Bacterial Biosensors for Measuring Availability of Environmental Pollutants. Sensors. 2008; 8(7):4062-4080.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tecon, Robin; Van der Meer, Jan R. 2008. "Bacterial Biosensors for Measuring Availability of Environmental Pollutants." Sensors 8, no. 7: 4062-4080.



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