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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Jan 15;43(2):423-8.

Novel use of a whole cell E. coli bioreporter as a urinary exposure biomarker.

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School of Biosciences, Hatherly Laboratories, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, UK.


Bacterial bioreporters have substantial potential for contaminant assessment but their real world application is currently impaired by a lack of sensitivity. Here, we exploit the bioconcentration of chemicals in the urine of animals to facilitate pollutant detection. The shore crab Carcinus maenas was exposed to the organic contaminant 2-hydroxybiphenyl, and urine was screened using an Escherichia coli-based luciferase gene (luxAB) reporter assay specific to this compound. Bioassay measurements differentiated between the original contaminant and its metabolites, quantifying bioconcentration factors of up to one hundred-fold in crab urine. Our results reveal the substantial potential of using bacterial bioreporter assays in real-time monitoring of biological matricesto determine exposure histories, with wide ranging potential for the in situ measurement of xenobiotics in risk assessments and epidemiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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