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Sensors 2018, 18(12), 4247;

A Portable Biosensor for 2,4-Dinitrotoluene Vapors

Institute of Technical Chemistry, Leibniz University of Hannover, 30167 Hannover, Germany
Institute of Food Chemistry, Leibniz University of Hannover, 30167 Hannover, Germany
PreSens Precision Sensing GmbH, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 9190401 Jerusalem, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 30 November 2018 / Published: 3 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Bio Sensing)
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Buried explosive material, e.g., landmines, represent a severe issue for human safety all over the world. Most explosives consist of environmentally hazardous chemicals like 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), carcinogenic 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT) and related compounds. Vapors leaking from buried landmines offer a detection marker for landmines, presenting an option to detect landmines without relying on metal detection. 2,4-Dinitrotoluene (DNT), an impurity and byproduct of common TNT synthesis, is a feasible detection marker since it is extremely volatile. We report on the construction of a wireless, handy and cost effective 2,4-dinitrotoluene biosensor combining recombinant bioluminescent bacterial cells and a compact, portable optical detection device. This biosensor could serve as a potential alternative to the current detection technique. The influence of temperature, oxygen and different immobilization procedures on bioluminescence were tested. Oxygen penetration depth in agarose gels was investigated, and showed that aeration with molecular oxygen is necessary to maintain bioluminescence activity at higher cell densities. Bioluminescence was low even at high cell densities and 2,4-DNT concentrations, hence optimization of different prototypes was carried out regarding radiation surface of the gels used for immobilization. These findings were applied to sensor construction, and 50 ppb gaseous 2,4-DNT was successfully detected. View Full-Text
Keywords: biosensor; landmine detection; chemical vapor signature; biological sensor; bioluminescence; explosive material biosensor; landmine detection; chemical vapor signature; biological sensor; bioluminescence; explosive material

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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Prante, M.; Ude, C.; Große, M.; Raddatz, L.; Krings, U.; John, G.; Belkin, S.; Scheper, T. A Portable Biosensor for 2,4-Dinitrotoluene Vapors. Sensors 2018, 18, 4247.

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