18 September

Nanobiosensors for water contaminants detections

Friday 18 September 2020, 04:00pm

ICN2 Seminar Hall, ICN2 Building, UAB


PhD: José Francisco Bergua

Directors: Prof. Arben Merkoçi, Group Leader and Dr Ruslan Alvarez, Postdoctoral Researcher at Nanobioelctronics and Biosensors Group at ICN2.

Short Abstract: Water pollution is one of the major problems humankind is facing nowadays. On the one hand, the presence of chemicals (i.e. pesticides and heavy metals) coming from agriculture and industrial runoffs impairs the water quality. On the other hand, farming and urban areas produce huge quantities of dung and wastewaters that result in altered water microbiological status and may lead to waterborne outbreaks. In this regard, biosensing offers great opportunities for tracking in situ chemical and microbiological pollutants in water to prevent and reduce the associated environmental and health issues.

This thesis aims to develop biosensing tools for water quality monitoring. First, a colorimetric lateral flor immunoassay (LFIA) is used to detect Escherichia coli as an indicator of fecal pollution in a variety of water samples. The proposed system can detect different strains of E. coli with good reproducibility and selectivity against other bacterial species. Besides, the sensitivity of the LFIA is enhanced by the filtration of the water samples. Second, a bacterial-based bioluminescent toxicity assay is used to detect pesticides in water samples. The addition of a nanomaterial such as graphene-oxide (GO) allows to boost bacterial growth and enhances the assay’s sensitivity, permitting to assess water toxicity quickly and with good sensitivity. Third, a universal portable platform is used to perform optical bioassays. This versatile platform allows for performing colorimetric, fluorescent, and bioluminescent assays with a myriad of applications such as the detection of SARS-CoV-2 and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Overall, these cheap, fast, and easy-to-use tools pave the way and highlight the possibilities to monitor water quality and other related parameters more efficiently and economically worldwide.