Water toxicity detection by a panel of stress-responsive luminescent bacteria

Authors

  • R. Pedahzur,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Environmental Sciences, The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Graduate School of Applied Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
    • Division of Environmental Sciences, The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Graduate School of Applied Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
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  • B. Polyak,

    1. Department of Biotechnology Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel
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  • R.S. Marks,

    1. The Institute for Applied Biosciences, Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel
    2. Department of Biotechnology Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel
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  • S. Belkin

    1. Division of Environmental Sciences, The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Graduate School of Applied Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel
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Abstract

A panel of Escherichia coli strains harbouring different stress-responsive promoters fused to a lux reporter system was used to assess the potential toxicity of 17 unknown model water samples. Using liquid cultures, nine out of 14 toxic samples were properly identified as toxic, whereas five were false negatives. All three non-toxic controls were identified correctly (no false positives). Two strains containing promoter–lux fusions were also tested when immobilized onto fibre-optic tips. One genotoxic sample and six toxic samples were correctly identified in this manner. The potential advantages and limitations in the use of genetically engineered bacteria as biosensors for water toxicity are discussed in view of these results. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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