A whole cell electrochemical biosensor for water genotoxicity bio-detection

Hadar Ben-Yoav, Alva Biran, Rami Pedahzur, Shimshon Belkin, Sebastian Buchinger, Georg Reifferscheid, Yosi Shacham-Diamand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


This work presents a novel micro-fluidic whole cell biosensor for water toxicity analysis. The biosensor presented here is based on bacterial cells that are genetically "tailored" to generate a sequence of biochemical reactions that eventually generate an electrical signal in the presence of genotoxicants. The bacterial assay was affected by toxicant contaminated water for an induction time that ranged between 30 min and 120 min. Enzymatic substrate (pAPP) was added to the assay generating the electrochemical active material (pAP) only when toxicants are sensed by the bacteria. The bacteria were integrated onto a micro-chip that was manufactured by MEMS technology and comprises various micro-chambers with volume ranging between 2.5 nl and 157 nl with electrode radius between 37.5 μm and 300 μm. We describe the biochip operation, its electrochemical response to calibration solutions as well as to the whole cell assays. The potential use of the whole cell biochip for toxicity detection of two different genotoxicants, nalidixic acid (NA) and 2-amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ), is demonstrated. We demonstrate minimal toxicant detection of 10 μg/ml for NA using 30 min for induction and 0.31 μM for IQ using 120 min for induction, both 3 min after the addition of the substrate material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6113-6118
Number of pages6
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Issue number25
StatePublished - 30 Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bio-sensor
  • Biochip
  • Electrochemical detection
  • Water genotoxicity
  • Whole cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


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