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Miniaturized Electrochemical Biosensor based on Whole-Cell for Heavy Metal Ions Detection in Water
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  • Emanuele Luigi Sciuto,
  • Salvatore Petralia,
  • Janroelof van der Meer,
  • Sabrina Conoci
Emanuele Luigi Sciuto
Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Policlinico "G.Rodolico - San Marco"
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Salvatore Petralia
University of Catania
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Janroelof van der Meer
University of Lausanne
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Sabrina Conoci
University of Messina
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Abstract

The heavy metals pollution represents one of the important issues in the environmental field since they are involved in many pathologies from cancer, neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases. We propose an innovative portable biosensor for the determination of traces of trivalent Arsenic (AsIII) and bivalent mercury (HgII) in water. The system implements a strategy combining two advanced sensing modules consisting in (a) a whole cell based on engineered Escherichia coli as selective sensing element towards the metals and (b) an electrochemical miniaturised silicon device with three microelectrodes and a portable reading system. The sensing mechanism relies on the selective recognition from the bacterium of given metals producing the 4-aminophenol (PAP) redox active mediator detected through a cyclic voltammetry analysis. The miniaturized biosensor is able to operate a portable, robust and high-sensitivity detection of AsIII with a sensitivity of 0.122 µA ppb-1, LoD of 1.5 ppb and a LoQ of 5 ppb. The LoD value is one order of magnitude below of the value indicated to WHO to be dangerous (10 μg/L). The system was proved to be fully versatile being effective in the detection of Hg(II) as well. A first study on Hg(II) showed sensitivity value of 2.11 µA/ppb a LOD value of 0.1 ppb and LoQ value of 0.34 ppb. Also in this case, the detected LOD was ten time lower than that indicated by WHO (1 ppb). These results pave the way for advanced sensing strategies suitable for the environmental monitoring and the public safety.

Peer review status:Published

19 Sep 2020Submitted to Biotechnology and Bioengineering
21 Sep 2020Submission Checks Completed
21 Sep 2020Assigned to Editor
30 Sep 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
20 Oct 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Oct 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
31 Oct 20201st Revision Received
31 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
31 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
04 Nov 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
20 Nov 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
20 Nov 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
Apr 2021Published in Biotechnology and Bioengineering volume 118 issue 4 on pages 1456-1465. 10.1002/bit.27646