Daily Archives: October 20, 2015

A Portable Biosensor for Water Toxicity


Describes the development of a biosensor for water toxicity. Affordable, portable, and simple to operate. Good detection capability, in some cases below guidelines established by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Specific luminescent signatures for each chemical tested. Monitors environmental water samples.


Evgeni Eltzov, Adiel Yehuda, Robert S. Marks. Creation of a new portable biosensor for water toxicity determination Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical Volume 221, 31 December 2015, Pages 1044–1054

In order to answer the need for on-site monitoring of water, a simple-to-operate device was produced. This publication describes the creation and optimization of a new, whole-cell biosensor integrating two systems, non-disposable (optoelectronic instrumentation) and disposable (bioluminescent bacteria immobilized in calcium alginate matrix pads) parts. After optimization the prototype was exposed to different chemicals (e.g. organic solvents, heavy metals and endocrine disrupting compounds) and it exhibited a highly sensitive response to some of the tested pollutants. Next, the sensor was exposed to three different environmental water sources (i.e. lake of Galilee, Amazon and Lachish River) and it confirmed its capability to detect the presence of toxicants in water. The simplicity of the device’s maintenance and measuring procedures and its portability and sensitivity, make this device attractive for use in water quality analysis and environmental monitoring.