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    Microbial bioreporters offer excellent potentialities for the detection of the bioavailable portion of pollutants in contaminated environments, which currently cannot be easily measured. This paper describes the construction and evaluation of two microbial bioreporters designed to detect the bioavailable chromate in contaminated water samples. The developed bioreporters are based on the expression of gfp under the control of the chr promoter and the chrB regulator gene of TnOtChr determinant from Ochrobactrum tritici 5bvl1. pCHRGFP1 Escherichia coli reporter proved to be specific and sensitive, with minimum detectable concentration of 100 nM chromate and did not react with other heavy metals or chemical compounds analysed. In order to have a bioreporter able to be used under different environmental toxics, O. tritici type strain was also engineered to fluoresce in the presence of micromolar levels of chromate and showed to be as specific as the first reporter. Their applicability on environmental samples (spiked Portuguese river water) was also demonstrated using either freshly grown or cryo-preserved cells, a treatment which constitutes an operational advantage. These reporter strains can provide on-demand usability in the field and in a near future may become a powerful tool in identification of chromate-contaminated sites.


    Rita Branco, Armando Cristóvão, Paula V Morais. Highly sensitive, highly specific whole-cell bioreporters for the detection of chromate in environmental samples. PloS one. 2013;8(1):e54005

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    PMID: 23326558

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