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Environ Pollut. 2008 Mar;152(1):123-9. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

Construction and comparison of fluorescence and bioluminescence bacterial biosensors for the detection of bioavailable toluene and related compounds.

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  • 1Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, 1 Roosevelt Road, Sec. 4, Taipei 106, Taiwan.


Environmental pollution with petroleum products such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) has garnered increasing awareness because of its serious consequences for human health and the environment. We have constructed toluene bacterial biosensors comprised of two reporter genes, gfp and luxCDABE, characterized by green fluorescence and luminescence, respectively, and compared their abilities to detect bioavailable toluene and related compounds. The bacterial luminescence biosensor allowed faster and more-sensitive detection of toluene; the fluorescence biosensor strain was much more stable and thus more applicable for long-term exposure. Both luminescence and fluorescence biosensors were field-tested to measure the relative bioavailability of BTEX in contaminated groundwater and soil samples. The estimated BTEX concentrations determined by the luminescence and fluorescence bacterial biosensors were closely comparable to each other. Our results demonstrate that both bacterial luminescence and fluorescence biosensors are useful in determining the presence and the bioavailable fractions of BTEX in the environment.

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