Physiological and toxicological characterization of an engineered whole-cell biosensor

F. A. Chinalia, Graeme Iain Paton, K. S. Killham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Bioluminescence-based bacterial biosensors are often reported as reliable and efficient tools for risk assessment and environmental monitoring. However, there are few data comparing the metabolism of genetically engineered strains to the corresponding wild type. A pollutant-degrading bacterium capable of mineralising 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), Burkholderia sp. strain RASC c2, was genetically engineered to produce light constitutively and tested for assessing the main causes of biodegradation constraint affected by growth rates, toxicity, bioavailability and metal speciation in complex environments. This research focuses on such aspects by characterizing two pollutant-degrading isolates, the wild type and the genetically engineered biosensor (lux-marked). Degradation and growth rates of both isolates were assessed with different concentrations of 2,4-D as the sole carbon source. Kinetic rates were affected by initial concentration of substrate and isolates showed distinct growth rates at different 2,4-D concentrations. Toxic effects of zinc and copper were also comparatively assessed using a dehydrogenase assay and light output. The isolates were sensitive to both metals and at similar EC50 values. Therefore, bioluminescence response of the lux-marked isolate accurately reflected the toxic response of the parental organism towards zinc and copper, making it an ideal test-organism for assessing toxicity in the context of pollutant mineralization. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-721
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number4
Early online date26 Mar 2007
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • biosensor
  • toxicity test
  • bioluminescence
  • 2,4-D
  • biodegradation kinetics
  • lux-modified bacterial
  • water treatment system
  • pseudomonas-fluorescens
  • toxicity
  • growth
  • degradation
  • fusions
  • soils
  • RASC


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