Superfund Research Program
Sensing Superfund Chemicals with Recombinant Systems
Project Leader: Sylvia Daunert (University of Miami)
Grant Number: P42ES007380
Funding Period: 1997-2014
Project Summary (1997-1999)
The goal of this work is to develop optical sensing systems for the detection of PCBs that can be potentially found in hazardous waste sites. Bacteria containing bioluminescence reporter plasmids and the bph operon (a set of genes that encode for the catabolic pathway of the PCBs) are being used for this purpose. Bioluminescence can be produced from these bacteria by inducing the luminescence gene in the presence of PCBs. In addition, a mammalian cell system is established to study their potential use in biosensor development. Studies are being performed to optimize the response characteristics of the sensors and to demonstrate the advantages of these sensing systems over other methods. Finally, this research emphasizes the application of these new optical sensors to monitoring levels of PCBs in environmental samples, such as soil and groundwater. The results obtained should allow extension of this technique to other chemicals of interest to the Superfund monitoring and clean-up effort.