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Title: The development of biosensing systems incorporating eukaryotic cells for rapid toxicity assessment
Author: Polak, Monica E.
Awarding Body: University of Luton
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis describes the development of biosensing systems incorporating eukaryotic cells. The ultimate objective of this work was to design devices capable of rapidly assessing the toxicity of effluents and environmental pollutants. Although much work remains to be done in order to achieve this goal, the work reported here demonstrates, in principle, the approaches adopted. The first approach exploited the reducing nature of healthy biological cells. So called 'redox mediated whole cell biosensors' have been described before. In this work, an algal toxicity test of short duration was developed and sensors incorporating cultured fish cells were described for the first time. The sensitivity of biosensors incorporating the green alga Selenastrum capricornutum, to diuron and pentachlorophenol, was found to compare favourably with that from other standard ecotoxicological tests. However, although the sensitivity of biosensors incorporating immobilised BF-2 fish cells was found to compare well with that of other fish cell-based toxicity tests, it appeared that whole organism tests were much more sensitive to the compounlds tested. The second approach involved the genetic manipulation of fish cells in order to incorporate luminescent reporter genes. Although this work is less well advanced, it demonstrates that the luc reporter gene can be successfully inserted into BF -2 fish cells and that these transformed cells can produce a luminescent response when incubated with luciferin substrate. Preliminary investigations have indicated that the sensitivity of luc-transformed BF-2 cells to 4-chlorophenol is comparable to that of some standard whole organism ecotoxicological tests and although much work is still required to validate this approach, it could eventually provide a simple, sensitive and rapid route to toxicity assessment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H167 Biosensors ; biosensors ; biosensing ; eukaryotic cells