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Biosensors. 1989;4(5):299-311.

Whole-cell biosensors for environmental monitoring.

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Centre for Applied Technology and Innovation, Luton College of Higher Education, Bedfordshire, UK.


Concern over the pollution risk to drinking water from industry and agriculture is growing, and the need for continuous on-line monitoring recognised. There is increasing use of living organisms as the sensitive agent to detect the presence of pollutants, and whole-cell biosensors are seen to have particular advantages in such environmental monitoring. The development of a mediated amperometric biosensor, incorporating the cyanobacterium Synechococcus as the biocatalyst, for on-line herbicide monitoring is described. The biosensor is able to detect a wide range of herbicides with sites of action on the photosynthetic electron transport chain, at concentrations down to 20 micrograms litre-1 and possesses a working life of up to 7 days. The use of alginate immobilisation of the biocatalyst to overcome the problems associated with obtaining a realistic shelf life for the biosensor is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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