Soil biosensor for the detection of PAH toxicity using an immobilized recombinant bacterium and a biosurfactant

Man Bock Gu, Suk Tai Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


A biosensor for detecting the toxicity of polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contaminated soil has been successfully constructed using an immobilized recombinant bioluminescent bacterium, GC2 (lac::luxCDABE), which constitutively produces bioluminescence. The biosurfactant, rhamnolipids, was used to extract a model PAH, phenanthrene, and was found to enhance the bioavailability of phenanthrene via an increase in its rate of mass transfer from sorbed soil to the aqueous phase. The monitoring of phenanthrene toxicity was achieved through the measurement of the decrease in bioluminescence when a sample extracted with the biosurfactant was injected into the minibioreactor. The concentrations of phenanthrene in the aqueous phase were found to correlate well with the corresponding toxicity data obtained by using this toxicity biosensor. In addition, it was also found that the addition of glass beads to the agar media enhanced the stability of the immobilized cells. This biosensor system using a biosurfactant may be applied as an in-situ biosensor to detect the toxicity of hydrophobic contaminants in soils and for performance evaluation of PAH degradation in soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-674
Number of pages8
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
Issue number9-12
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) through ADEMRC at the Kwangju Institute of Science and Technology (K-JIST) and in part by BK21 program funded by the Ministry of Education of Korea. Authors are grateful for their support.


  • Bioavailability of PAH
  • Biosurfactants
  • Immobilized recombinant bioluminescent bacterium
  • Phenanthrene
  • Soil biosensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Soil biosensor for the detection of PAH toxicity using an immobilized recombinant bacterium and a biosurfactant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this