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Special Issue "Environmental Monitoring Biosensors"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Biosensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 March 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental pollution is growing as a global concern. Contamination of air, water, and soil from both natural and human related activities is affecting both environmental and human health. Therefore, there is a need of cost-effective and fast analytical techniques, such as biosensors, capable of stand-alone and measure pollutants in situ and in real-time in order to gain knowledge of the environmental status and also the provision of early detection systems. Manuscripts of all aspects of environmental biosensing are welcome, including: Optical, electrochemical, magnetic, piezoelectric based biosensors, antibody, affibody, enzyme, nucleic acids, natural products, tissue, microorganisms, imprinted polymers, aptamer based biosensors, design and fabrication of biosensor platforms, lab-on-a-chip, miniaturization of biosensors, disposable biosensors, early warning systems, real-time monitoring, in situ monitoring, combination of molecular recognition and nanotechnology, microfluidic integration, and analytical performance of biosensors. Both research and review papers are welcome.

Dr. Teresa A. P. Rocha-Santos
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Keywords

  • Biosensor
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Bio-recognition
  • Analytical performance

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
A High Aspect Ratio Bifurcated 128-Microchannel Microfluidic Device for Environmental Monitoring of Explosives
Sensors 2018, 18(5), 1568; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18051568 - 15 May 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Design and evolution of explosives monitoring and detection platforms to address the challenges of trace level chemical identification have led investigations into the use of intricately designed microfluidic devices. Microfluidic devices are unique tools that possess distinct characteristics that, when designed properly and [...] Read more.
Design and evolution of explosives monitoring and detection platforms to address the challenges of trace level chemical identification have led investigations into the use of intricately designed microfluidic devices. Microfluidic devices are unique tools that possess distinct characteristics that, when designed properly and configured with optical and fluidic components, can produce detection platforms with unmatched performance levels. Herein, we report the design, fabrication and integration of a bifurcated high aspect ratio microfluidic device containing 128 microchannels (40 mm × 40 μm × 250 μm; L × W × H) for explosives detection at trace levels. Aspect ratios measuring >6:1 support improved receptor-target molecule interactions, higher throughput and extremely low limits of detection (LOD). In addition to superior assay sensitivity, the bifurcated microfluidic device provides greater durability and versatility for substrate modification. Using the explosive 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT) as the model compound in a fluorescence-based displacement immunoassay, we report LODs for TNT at 10 parts-per-trillion (pptr) using a neutravidin-coated biotinylated anti-TNT microfluidic device. Solution to wall interactions were also simulated in COMSOL Multiphysics to understand fluid flow characteristics. Reynolds numbers were calculated to be 0.27–2.45 with a maximum pressure of 1.2 × 10−2 psi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Metallothionein in Javanese Medaka (Oryzias javanicus), Using a scFv-Immobilized Protein Chip
Sensors 2018, 18(4), 1069; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18041069 - 02 Apr 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Environmental pollution by various industrial chemicals and biological agents poses serious risks to human health. Especially, marine contamination by potentially toxic elements (PTEs) has become a global concern in recent years. Many efforts have been undertaken to monitor the PTE contamination of the [...] Read more.
Environmental pollution by various industrial chemicals and biological agents poses serious risks to human health. Especially, marine contamination by potentially toxic elements (PTEs) has become a global concern in recent years. Many efforts have been undertaken to monitor the PTE contamination of the aquatic environment. However, there are few approaches available to assess the PTE exposure of aquatic organisms. In this research, we developed a strategy to evaluate the heavy metal exposure of marine organisms, by measuring the expression levels of metallothionein protein derived from Oryzias javanicus (OjaMT). OjaMT is a biomarker of heavy metal exposure because the expression level increases upon heavy metal exposure. The developed assay is based on a real-time, label-free surface plasmon resonance (SPR) measurement. Anti-OjaMT antibody and anti-OjaMT single-chain fragment of variable region (scFv) were used as detection probes. Two types of SPR sensor chips were fabricated, by immobilizing antibody or Cys3-tagged scFv (scFv-Cys3) in a controlled orientation and were tested for in situ label-free OjaMT detection. Compared to the antibody-presenting sensor chips, the scFv-presenting sensor chips showed improved performance, displaying enhanced sensitivity and enabling semi-quantitative detection. The portable SPR system combined with scFv-immobilized sensor chips is expected to provide an excellent point-of-care testing system that can monitor target biomarkers in real time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Miniaturized Sample Preparation and Rapid Detection of Arsenite in Contaminated Soil Using a Smartphone
Sensors 2018, 18(3), 777; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18030777 - 04 Mar 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Conventional methods for analyzing heavy metal contamination in soil and water generally require laboratory equipped instruments, complex procedures, skilled personnel and a significant amount of time. With the advancement in computing and multitasking performances, smartphone-based sensors potentially allow the transition of the laboratory-based [...] Read more.
Conventional methods for analyzing heavy metal contamination in soil and water generally require laboratory equipped instruments, complex procedures, skilled personnel and a significant amount of time. With the advancement in computing and multitasking performances, smartphone-based sensors potentially allow the transition of the laboratory-based analytical processes to field applicable, simple methods. In the present work, we demonstrate the novel miniaturized setup for simultaneous sample preparation and smartphone-based optical sensing of arsenic As(III) in the contaminated soil. Colorimetric detection protocol utilizing aptamers, gold nanoparticles and NaCl have been optimized and tested on the PDMS-chip to obtain the high sensitivity with the limit of detection of 0.71 ppm (in the sample) and a correlation coefficient of 0.98. The performance of the device is further demonstrated through the comparative analysis of arsenic-spiked soil samples with standard laboratory method, and a good agreement with a correlation coefficient of 0.9917 and the average difference of 0.37 ppm, are experimentally achieved. With the android application on the device to run the experiment, the whole process from sample preparation to detection is completed within 3 hours without the necessity of skilled personnel. The approximate cost of setup is estimated around 1 USD, weight 55 g. Therefore, the presented method offers the simple, rapid, portable and cost-effective means for onsite sensing of arsenic in soil. Combined with the geometric information inside the smartphones, the system will allow the monitoring of the contamination status of soils in a nation-wide manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Early Warning System Based on a Sediment Microbial Fuel Cell for In Situ and Real Time Hexavalent Chromium Detection in Industrial Wastewater
Sensors 2018, 18(2), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020642 - 22 Feb 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) is a well-known toxic heavy metal in industrial wastewater, but in situ and real time monitoring cannot be achieved by current methods used during industrial wastewater treatment processes. In this study, a Sediment Microbial Fuel Cell (SMFC) was used as [...] Read more.
Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) is a well-known toxic heavy metal in industrial wastewater, but in situ and real time monitoring cannot be achieved by current methods used during industrial wastewater treatment processes. In this study, a Sediment Microbial Fuel Cell (SMFC) was used as a biosensor for in situ real-time monitoring of Cr(VI), which was the organic substrate is oxidized in the anode and Cr(VI) is reduced at the cathode simultaneously. The pH 6.4 and temperature 25 °C were optimal conditions for the operation. Under the optimal conditions, linearity (R2 = 0.9935) of the generated voltage was observed in the Cr(VI) concentration range from 0.2 to 0.7 mg/L. The system showed high specificity for Cr(VI), as other co-existing ions such as Cu2+, Zn2+, and Pb2+ did not interfere with Cr(VI) detection. In addition, when the sediment MFC-based biosensor was applied for measuring Cr(VI) in actual wastewater samples, a low deviation (<8%) was obtained, which indicated its potential as a reliable biosensor device. MiSeq sequencing results showed that electrochemically active bacteria (Geobacter and Pseudomonas) were enriched at least two-fold on the biofilm of the anode in the biosensor as compared to the SMFC without Cr(VI). Cyclic voltammetry curves indicated that a pair of oxidation/reduction peaks appeared at −111 mV and 581 mV, respectively. These results demonstrated that the proposed sediment microbial fuel cell-based biosensor can be applied as an early warning device for real time in situ detection of Cr(VI) in industrial wastewaters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Open AccessShort Note
Flame-Oxidized Stainless-Steel Anode as a Probe in Bioelectrochemical System-Based Biosensors to Monitor the Biochemical Oxygen Demand of Wastewater
Sensors 2018, 18(2), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020607 - 16 Feb 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is a widely used index of water quality in wastewater treatment; however, conventional measurement methods are time-consuming. In this study, we analyzed a novel flame-oxidized stainless steel anode (FO-SSA) for use as the probe of bioelectrochemical system (BES)-based biosensors [...] Read more.
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is a widely used index of water quality in wastewater treatment; however, conventional measurement methods are time-consuming. In this study, we analyzed a novel flame-oxidized stainless steel anode (FO-SSA) for use as the probe of bioelectrochemical system (BES)-based biosensors to monitor the BOD of treated swine wastewater. A thinner biofilm formed on the FO-SSA compared with that on a common carbon-cloth anode (CCA). The FO-SSA was superior to the CCA in terms of rapid sensing; the response time of the FO-SSA to obtain the value of R2 > 0.8 was 1 h, whereas the CCA required 4 h. These results indicate that the FO-SSA offers better performance than traditional CCAs in BES biosensors and can be used to improve biomonitoring of wastewater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Abrin by Electrochemiluminescence Biosensor Based on Screen Printed Electrode
Sensors 2018, 18(2), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020357 - 26 Jan 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
For the convenience of fast measurement in the outdoor environment, a portable electrochemiluminescence biosensor with the screen-printed electrode as the reaction center was developed, which possesses the characteristics of high sensitivity, small scale, simplified operation and so on, and has been used for [...] Read more.
For the convenience of fast measurement in the outdoor environment, a portable electrochemiluminescence biosensor with the screen-printed electrode as the reaction center was developed, which possesses the characteristics of high sensitivity, small scale, simplified operation and so on, and has been used for in situ detection of abrin. First, combining with magnetic separation technique, the “biotin-avidin” method was used to immobilize the polyclonal antibody (pcAb) on the magnetic microspheres surface as the capture probe. Secondly, the Ru(bpy)32+-labeled monoclonal antibody (mcAb) was used as the specific electrochemiluminescence signal probe. Then, the “mcAb-toxin-pcAb” sandwich model was built to actualize the quantitative detection of abrin on the surface of the screen-printed electrode. The linear detection range was 0.5–1000 ng/mL; the regression equation was Y = 89.251lgX + 104.978 (R = 0.9989, n = 7, p < 0.0001); and the limit of detection (LOD) was 0.1 ng/mL. The sensing system showed high sensitivity, excellent specificity and good anti-interference ability, and could be used for the analysis of trace abrin in various environmental samples with good recovery and reproducibility. Compared with the traditional electrochemiluminescence sensing device, its miniaturization and portability gives it potential to satisfy the requirement of in situ detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Method for Sensing Soil Water Content in Green Roofs Using Plant Microbial Fuel Cells
Sensors 2018, 18(1), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18010071 - 28 Dec 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
Green roofs have many benefits, but in countries with semiarid climates the amount of water needed for irrigation is a limiting factor for their maintenance. The use of drought-tolerant plants such as Sedum species, reduces the water requirements in the dry season, but, [...] Read more.
Green roofs have many benefits, but in countries with semiarid climates the amount of water needed for irrigation is a limiting factor for their maintenance. The use of drought-tolerant plants such as Sedum species, reduces the water requirements in the dry season, but, even so, in semiarid environments these can reach up to 60 L m−2 per day. Continuous substrate/soil water content monitoring would facilitate the efficient use of this critical resource. In this context, the use of plant microbial fuel cells (PMFCs) emerges as a suitable and more sustainable alternative for monitoring water content in green roofs in semiarid climates. In this study, bench and pilot-scale experiments using seven Sedum species showed a positive relationship between current generation and water content in the substrate. PMFC reactors with higher water content (around 27% vs. 17.5% v/v) showed larger power density (114.6 and 82.3 μW m−2 vs. 32.5 μW m−2). Moreover, a correlation coefficient of 0.95 (±0.01) between current density and water content was observed. The results of this research represent the first effort of using PMFCs as low-cost water content biosensors for green roofs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Open AccessArticle
A Green Microbial Fuel Cell-Based Biosensor for In Situ Chromium (VI) Measurement in Electroplating Wastewater
Sensors 2017, 17(11), 2461; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17112461 - 27 Oct 2017
Cited by 12
Abstract
The extensive use of Cr(VI) in many industries and the disposal of Cr(VI)-containing wastes have resulted in Cr(VI)-induced environmental contamination. Cr(VI) compounds are associated with increased cancer risks; hence, the detection of toxic Cr(VI) compounds is crucial. Various methods have been developed for [...] Read more.
The extensive use of Cr(VI) in many industries and the disposal of Cr(VI)-containing wastes have resulted in Cr(VI)-induced environmental contamination. Cr(VI) compounds are associated with increased cancer risks; hence, the detection of toxic Cr(VI) compounds is crucial. Various methods have been developed for Cr(VI) measurement, but they are often conducted offsite and cannot provide real-time toxicity monitoring. A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is an eco-friendly and self-sustaining device that has great potential as a biosensor for in situ Cr(VI) measurement, especially for wastewater generated from different electroplating units. In this study, Exiguobacterium aestuarii YC211, a facultatively anaerobic, Cr(VI)-reducing, salt-tolerant, and exoelectrogenic bacterium, was isolated and inoculated into an MFC to evaluate its feasibility as a Cr(VI) biosensor. The Cr(VI) removal efficiency of E. aestuarii YC211 was not affected by the surrounding environment (pH 5–9, 20–35 °C, coexisting ions, and salinity of 0–15 g/L). The maximum power density of the MFC biosensor was 98.3 ± 1.5 mW/m2 at 1500 Ω. A good linear relationship (r2 = 0.997) was observed between the Cr(VI) concentration (2.5–60 mg/L) and the voltage output. The developed MFC biosensor is a simple device that can accurately measure Cr(VI) concentrations in the actual electroplating wastewater that is generated from different electroplating units within 30 min with low deviations (−6.1% to 2.2%). After treating the actual electroplating wastewater with the MFC, the predominant family in the biofilm was found to be Bacillaceae (95.3%) and was further identified as the originally inoculated E. aestuarii YC211 by next generation sequencing (NGS). Thus, the MFC biosensor can measure Cr(VI) concentrations in situ in the effluents from different electroplating units, and it can potentially help in preventing the violation of effluent regulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Aptamer-Based Biosensors to Detect Aquatic Phycotoxins and Cyanotoxins
Sensors 2018, 18(7), 2367; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18072367 - 20 Jul 2018
Cited by 16
Abstract
Aptasensors have a great potential for environmental monitoring, particularly for real-time on-site detection of aquatic toxins produced by marine and freshwater microorganisms (cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates, and diatoms), with several advantages over other biosensors that are worth considering. Freshwater monitoring is of vital importance for [...] Read more.
Aptasensors have a great potential for environmental monitoring, particularly for real-time on-site detection of aquatic toxins produced by marine and freshwater microorganisms (cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates, and diatoms), with several advantages over other biosensors that are worth considering. Freshwater monitoring is of vital importance for public health, in numerous human activities, and animal welfare, since these toxins may cause fatal intoxications. Similarly, in marine waters, very effective monitoring programs have been put in place in many countries to detect when toxins exceed established regulatory levels and accordingly enforce shellfish harvesting closures. Recent advances in the fields of aptamer selection, nanomaterials and communication technologies, offer a vast array of possibilities to develop new imaginative strategies to create improved, ultrasensitive, reliable and real-time devices, featuring unique characteristics to produce and amplify the signal. So far, not many strategies have been used to detect aquatic toxins, mostly limited to the optic and electrochemical sensors, the majority applied to detect microcystin-LR using a target-induced switching mode. The limits of detection of these aptasensors have been decreasing from the nM to the fM order of magnitude in the past 20 years. Aspects related to sensor components, performance, aptamers sequences, matrices analyzed and future perspectives, are considered and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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Open AccessReview
Recent Progress in Biosensors for Environmental Monitoring: A Review
Sensors 2017, 17(12), 2918; https://doi.org/10.3390/s17122918 - 15 Dec 2017
Cited by 66
Abstract
The environmental monitoring has been one of the priorities at the European and global scale due to the close relationship between the environmental pollution and the human health/socioeconomic development. In this field, the biosensors have been widely employed as cost-effective, fast, in situ, [...] Read more.
The environmental monitoring has been one of the priorities at the European and global scale due to the close relationship between the environmental pollution and the human health/socioeconomic development. In this field, the biosensors have been widely employed as cost-effective, fast, in situ, and real-time analytical techniques. The need of portable, rapid, and smart biosensing devices explains the recent development of biosensors with new transduction materials, obtained from nanotechnology, and for multiplexed pollutant detection, involving multidisciplinary experts. This review article provides an update on recent progress in biosensors for the monitoring of air, water, and soil pollutants in real conditions such as pesticides, potentially toxic elements, and small organic molecules including toxins and endocrine disrupting chemicals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Monitoring Biosensors)
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