Biosensor based toxicity dissection of tannery and associated environmental samples

Mwinyikione Mwinyihija, Norval James Colin Strachan, Andrew Alexander Meharg, Kenneth Stuart Killham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


Kenyan tannery and associated environmental samples were selected for ecotoxicological assessment. A tool-kit of techniques was developed, including whole cell biosensor and chemical assays. A luminescence based bacterial biosensor (Escherichia coli HB 101 pUCD607) (via a multi-copy plasmid) was used for toxicity assessment. Samples were manipulated prior to biosensor interrogation to identify the nature of the toxic contaminants. Untreated samples (before any manipulations) showed a strong toxic effect at the discharge point in comparison to other sampling points. Sparging was used to identify toxicity associated with volatile organics. The toxicity of contaminants, removed by treatment with activated charcoal, was identified for all the sampling points except for those upstream of effluent discharges. Filtration identified toxicity associated with suspended solids. Changes in availability of toxic contaminants due to pH adjustment of most samples from the tannery effluent treatment pits were also associated with the extreme pH values (4.0 and 8.0). The approach used has highlighted the complexity of toxic pollutants in effluent from the tanning industry. Dissection of toxicity points suggests possible remediation strategies for effluents from the tanning industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-395
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American Leather Chemists Association
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • lux-modified bacterial
  • pseudomonas-fluorescens
  • soil
  • ion
  • chromium(III)
  • speciation
  • discharge
  • sulfide


Dive into the research topics of 'Biosensor based toxicity dissection of tannery and associated environmental samples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this