Volume 90 Issue 3 | p. 38
Issue Date: January 16, 2012

Bacteria Array Detects Arsenic

Synchronized engineered bacteria sense heavy metals
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Analytical SCENE
Keywords: biology, sensor, microfluidics, arsenic, bacteria, Escherichia coli

A new device harnesses the synchronized oscillations of millions of bacteria to continuously detect the metal arsenic (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature10722). One possible use for the device is to detect arsenic in drinking water.

Jeff Hasty and coworkers at the University of California, San Diego, made their arsenic sensor using an array of engineered Escherichia coli that produce oscillating genetic clocks and synchronize the oscillations within and between colonies. Each bacterial colony . . .

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