Synthetic biology enables field-deployable biosensors for water contaminants

Behide Saltepe, Lei Wang, Baojun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Wastewater surveillance is a powerful tool to understand community profiling in terms of health monitoring. Tracking biomarkers such as inorganic and organic pollutants, drugs, and pathogens in wastewater gives a general idea about the lifestyle and health status of a population as well as pollutant exposure caused by various toxic chemicals. Notably, tracing pathogenic clues could help predict and prevent disease outbreaks such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in communities. To this end, developing portable biosensing platforms will facilitate the on-site monitoring of water contamination without requiring complex equipment. New technological developments in synthetic biology have advanced both synthetic gene circuit-based biosensors and new in vitro detection strategies coupled with easy-to-interpret visualization methods. Here, we summarize the latest advances in synthetic biology tools and discuss how they enable the development of rapid, low-cost, ease-to-use and field-deployable biosensors for monitoring a variety of water contaminants and health-related biomarkers in the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116507
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Analytical Chemistry
Early online date9 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • synthetic biology
  • portable biosensors
  • CRISPR-based detection
  • environmental monitoring
  • water comtamination
  • wastewater monitoring


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