Article: article from journal or magazin.
Development and characterization of a whole-cell bioluminescent sensor for bioavailable middle-chain alkanes in contaminated groundwater samples.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
A microbial whole-cell biosensor was developed, and its potential to measure water-dissolved concentrations of middle-chain-length alkanes and some related compounds by bioluminescence was characterized. The biosensor strain Escherichia coli DH5 alpha(pGEc74, pJAMA7) carried the regulatory gene alkS from Pseudomonas oleovorans and a transcriptional fusion of PalkB from the same strain with the promoterless luciferase luxAB genes from Vibrio harveyi on two separately introduced plasmids. In standardized assays, the biosensor cells were readily inducible with octane, a typical inducer of the alk system. Light emission after induction periods of more than 15 min correlated well with octane concentration. In well-defined aqueous samples, there was a linear relationship between light output and octane concentrations between 24 and 100 nM. The biosensor responded to middle-chain-length alkanes but not to alicyclic or aromatic compounds. In order to test its applicability for analyzing environmentally relevant samples, the biosensor was used to detect the bioavailable concentration of alkanes in heating oil-contaminated groundwater samples. By the extrapolation of calibrated light output data to low octane concentrations with a hyperbolic function, a total inducer concentration of about 3 nM in octane equivalents was estimated. The whole-cell biosensor tended to underestimate the alkane concentration in the groundwater samples by about 25%, possibly because of the presence of unknown inhibitors. This was corrected for by spiking the samples with a known amount of an octane standard. Biosensor measurements of alkane concentrations were further verified by comparing them with the results of chemical analyses.
Aldehydes/metabolism, Alkanes/analysis, Alkanes/chemistry, Base Sequence, Biodegradation, Environmental, Biosensing Techniques, DNA, Bacterial/genetics, Escherichia coli/genetics, Escherichia coli/metabolism, Evaluation Studies as Topic, Genes, Bacterial, Genes, Regulator, Luciferases/genetics, Luciferases/metabolism, Luminescence, Molecular Sequence Data, Octanes/analysis, Pseudomonas/genetics, Water Pollutants, Chemical/analysis, Water Pollutants, Chemical/metabolism
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