What is it about?
Gold nanoparticles and bacteria are incorporated in ‘living’ sensors to detect metal toxins in tap water and wastewater. Bacteria have a chemical response as part of their defense mechanism to toxins before cell death occurs; the chemical signal is broadcasted with gold nanoparticle antennas. Machine learning algorithms decode the optical signals from gold nanoparticles to report the presence and concentration of toxins.
Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Contaminated water is a major source of toxic heavy metal exposure for animals and people. As heavy metal use in a wide variety of industrial and agricultural processes is growing exponentially, the development of portable and low-cost sensors is needed to monitor the influx of heavy metal contaminants into the water supply. The sensitivity, speed, and versatility of this method, which can be broadly deployed to monitor the introduction of toxins - at the source - in drinking & irrigation water, and agricultural & industrial runoff, can provide early warning of heavy metal contamination to safeguard ecosystems and human health.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: Decoding the metabolic response of
for sensing trace heavy metals in water, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2023, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2210061120.
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