Bioluminescent bacterial biosensor for large-scale field deployment

A. J. Agranat*, Y. Kabessa, E. Shpigel, B. Shemer, O. Schwartzglass, L. Atamneh, Y. Mizrachi, Y. Uziel, M. Ejzenberg, T. Elad, S. Belkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


We describe a biosensing module in which live bacteria, genetically "tailored" to respond to the presence of a specific target material, constitute the core sensing element, reporting their response by bioluminescence. The module is constructed of two channels: an 'induced' channel that measures the bioluminescent light emitted by bacteria exposed to the inspected area, and a 'reference' channel that measures in parallel the bioluminescent light emitted spontaneously by bacteria of the same batch. This enables to overcome signal variations generated by different batches of bacteria, and due to varying environmental operating conditions. A special low-noise optoelectronic circuit was constructed to detect the bioluminescence emitted by the bacteria in both channels. The bacteria are encapsulated in polymer beads that also contain nutrients and water, enabling long-term maintenance-free operation. The beads are packaged in special cassettes at the bottom of the module, so that the induced channel cassette is in direct contact with the ground underneath the module, whereas the reference channel cassette is isolated from the ground. The module contains, in addition, a digital signal processing unit, and a wireless communication unit. The module is designed to operate outdoors as an autonomous network element designed for large scale in-situ deployment. The module described herein was developed for the detection of buried landmines, by sensing the presence of 2,4-dinitrotoluene (DNT) vapors released by the mine, accumulating in the ground above it. Detection of DNT in the sub-ppm range is demonstrated.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationFrontiers in Biological Detection
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Nanosensors to Systems XII
EditorsAmos Danielli, Benjamin L. Miller, Sharon M. Weiss
ISBN (Electronic)9781510632790
StatePublished - 2020
EventFrontiers in Biological Detection: From Nanosensors to Systems XII 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 2 Feb 20203 Feb 2020

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceFrontiers in Biological Detection: From Nanosensors to Systems XII 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© COPYRIGHT SPIE. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.


Dive into the research topics of 'Bioluminescent bacterial biosensor for large-scale field deployment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this