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Published on March 20th, 2009 | by Amiel Blajchman

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Genetically Engineered Bacteria to Measure Water Quality

March 20th, 2009 by  

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a laboratory the size of a microchip that can be used to measure water quality. Using genetically engineered bacteria that light up when in contact with pre-determined pollutants, this water quality lab will detect and communicate “contact” with monitoring systems. It’s a nano sized version of the robot fish that we recently looked at.

“We’ve developed a platform – essentially a micro-sized, quarter-inch square ‘lab’ – employing genetically engineered bacteria that light up when presented with a stressor in water,” says team lead Professor Shacham-Diamand.

Other potential uses of this micro-scale monitoring system include almost any biological process that can affect or be affected by purpose-designed bacteria, including stem cell and cancer investigations. Even the United States Department of Defense Projects Agency (DARPA) is interested, as these nanotechnology labs may become a defense against future biological warfare attacks.

Photo CC-Licensed by Flickr user Luza

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About the Author

Amiel is the founder of the Globalis Group, an organization whose motto is "combining action and thought for a sustainable world." His experience includes working with the Canadian government on greenspace projects, sustainable development programs and on policy documents on issues as diverse as climate change, sustainable development, and the environmental and social impacts of transportation. He is listed on the UN’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory’s list of GHG experts, and has sat on the Canadian Environmental Certifications Board’s Greenhouse Gas Verification and Validation Certification committee.



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