Research Output

Whole cell immobilised biosensors for toxicity assessment of a wastewater treatment plant treating phenolics-containing waste.

  Wastewater treatment plants dealing with industrial wastes are often susceptible to overload of toxic influent that can partially or completely destroy treatment for extended periods. An obvious candidate for monitoring toxicity in such wastewater systems is bioluminescent bacteria. However, the natural bioluminescent bacteria can be particularly sensitive to some industrial wastes and therefore their response to normal operational conditions does not reflect the status of the microbial community responsible for treatment. Moreover, the salt dependence of the marine bioluminescent bacteria, and the temperature sensitivity of some strains, further complicate their use. Here we describe the construction of whole cell genetically modified bioluminescent biosensors and their immobilisation for use in monitoring the toxicity of a complex industrial wastewater containing phenolic materials. A hand-held luminometer was designed for laboratory or field use, and the immobilisation system designed with several things in mind: the geometry of the instrument; the need for containment of GM bacteria; the maximisation of the bioavailability of the wastewater to the biosensor. The performance of a candidate GM sensor was compared with Vibrio fischeri in liquid culture and after immobilisation in thin films of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) cryogels. The biosensors were tested against pure phenol and 3-chlorophenol as a reference toxic chemical known to be much more toxic to bacteria than phenol. The biosensors were then tested with the phenolics-containing industrial wastewater. The immobilisation system proved to operate predictably with pure toxicants, and was able to discriminate toxicity of various zones within the wastewater treatment plant.

Citation

Philp, J. C., Balmand, S., Hajto, E., Bailey, M. J., Wiles, S., Whiteley, A. S., …Dunbar, S. (2003). Whole cell immobilised biosensors for toxicity assessment of a wastewater treatment plant treating phenolics-containing waste. Analytica Chimica Acta. 487, 61-74. doi:10.1016/S0003-2670(03)00358-1. ISSN 0003-2670

Authors

Keywords

Wastewater treatment plant; Phenolics; Genetic modification; Bioluminescent sensors; Immobilisation; PVS cryogels; Luminometer; Evaluation;

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