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Environ Pollut. 2009 May;157(5):1643-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2008.12.020. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Application of a luminescence-based biosensor for assessing naphthalene biodegradation in soils from a manufactured gas plant.

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  • 1Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Cruickshank Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UU, United Kingdom.


Despite numerous reviews suggesting that microbial biosensors could be used in many environmental applications, in reality they have failed to be used for which they were designed. In part this is because most of these sensors perform in an aqueous phase and a buffered medium, which is in contrast to the nature of genuine environmental systems. In this study, a range of non-exhaustive extraction techniques (NEETs) were assessed for (i) compatibility with a naphthalene responsive biosensor and (ii) correlation with naphthalene biodegradation. The NEETs removed a portion of the total soil naphthalene in the order of methanol > HPCD > betaCD > water. To place the biosensor performance to NEETs in context, a biodegradation experiment was carried out using historically contaminated soils. By coupling the HPCD extraction with the biosensor, it was possible to assess the fraction of the naphthalene capable of undergoing microbial degradation in soil.

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