Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
A portable bioelectronic sensing system (BESSY) for environmental deployment incorporating differential microbial sensing in miniaturized reactors
- Author(s): Zhou, AY
- Baruch, M
- Ajo-Franklin, CM
- Maharbiz, MM
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184994
© 2017 Zhou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Current technologies are lacking in the area of deployable, in situ monitoring of complex chemicals in environmental applications. Microorganisms metabolize various chemical compounds and can be engineered to be analyte-specific making them naturally suited for robust chemical sensing. However, current electrochemical microbial biosensors use large and expensive electrochemistry equipment not suitable for on-site, real-time environmental analysis. Here we demonstrate a miniaturized, autonomous bioelectronic sensing system (BESSY) suitable for deployment for instantaneous and continuous sensing applications. We developed a 2x2 cm footprint, low power, two-channel, three-electrode electrochemical potentiostat which wirelessly transmits data for on-site microbial sensing. Furthermore, we designed a new way of fabricating self-contained, submersible, miniaturized reactors (m-reactors) to encapsulate the bacteria, working, and counter electrodes. We have validated the BESSY’s ability to specifically detect a chemical amongst environmental perturbations using differential current measurements. This work paves the way for in situ microbial sensing outside of a controlled laboratory environment.