A multi-channel continuous water toxicity monitoring system: Its evaluation and application to water discharged from a power plant

Byoung Chan Kim, Man Bock Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


A multi-channel continuous water toxicity monitoring system was, after confirming the systems' performance, implemented to samples of water discharged from power plants to detect and classify their toxicity using several recombinant bioluminescent bacteria. Each channel of the system is composed of a series of two mini-bioreactors to enable a continuous operation, i.e., without system interruption due to highly toxic samples. A different recombinant bacterial strain was present in each channel: DPD2540 (fabA::lux CDABE), DPD2794 (recA::luxCDABE), and TV1061 (grpE::luxCDABE), which are induced by cell membrane-, DNA-, and protein-damaging agents, respectively. GC2 (lac::luxCDABE) is a constitutive strain, whose bioluminescence is reduced by an increase in cellular toxicity. Phenol and mitomycin C (MMC) were used for evaluating the system's performance to detect toxic chemicals. These samples were injected into the second mini-bioreactor according to a step or bell-curve manner. The field samples used in this study were obtained from the water discharged from two different power plants in Korea - from a nuclear power plant and a thermo-electronic power plant, and were injected into the second mini-bioreactor to initiate the toxicity test. Each channel showed specific bioluminescent (BL) response profiles due to the toxic compounds present in the water samples. Comparing the BL signals between the standard toxic chemical samples and discharged water samples, the equivalent toxicity of the field water could be estimated. Finally, it was proved that this novel continuous toxicity monitoring system can be used as an alternative tool for the quick monitoring and control of water quality, as well as aid in the setting up of a new monitoring strategy to protect the source of tap water and in the prevention of polluted water discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-133
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Oct
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) through the GIST/ADEMRC Europe Satellite Lab in the Technical University of Berlin and in part by Electrical Engineering and Science Research Institute (EESRI) in Seoul National University. Authors are grateful for their supports.


  • Bioluminescent bacteria
  • Classification
  • Continuous toxicity monitoring
  • Discharged flow
  • Multi-channel
  • Power plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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