Engineering Rugged Field Assays to Detect Hazardous Chemicals Using Spore-Based Bacterial Biosensors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Bacterial whole cell-based biosensors have been genetically engineered to achieve selective and reliable detection of a wide range of hazardous chemicals. Although whole-cell biosensors demonstrate many advantages for field-based detection of target analytes, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed. Most notably, their often modest shelf life and need for special handling and storage make them challenging to use in situations where access to reagents, instrumentation, and expertise are limited. These problems can be circumvented by developing biosensors in Bacillus spores, which can be engineered to address all of these concerns. In its sporulated state, a whole cell-based biosensor has a remarkably long life span and is exceptionally resistant to environmental insult. When these spores are germinated for use in analytical techniques, they show no loss in performance, even after long periods of storage under harsh conditions. In this chapter, we will discuss the development and use of whole cell-based sensors, their adaptation to spore-based biosensors, their current applications, and future directions in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Enzymology
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages35
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMethods in Enzymology
ISSN (Print)00766879
ISSN (Electronic)15577988


  • Bacterial endospores
  • Biosensor
  • Field assay
  • Pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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