Profiling the biological effects of wastewater samples via bioluminescent bacterial biosensors combined with estrogenic assays

Ingrid Bazin, Ho Bin Seo, Carey M. Suehs, Marc Ramuz, Michel de Waard, Man Bock Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


Various water samples were successfully evaluated using a panel of different recombinant bioluminescent bacteria and estrogenic activity analysis. The bioluminescent bacteria strains induced by oxidative (superoxide radical or hydroxyl radical), protein damage, cell membrane damage, or cellular toxicity were used. Estrogenic activities were examined by using the yeast strain BY4741, which carries the β-galactosidase reporter gene under the control of the estrogen-responsive element (ERE). A total of 14 samples from three wastewater treatment plants, one textile factory, and seawater locations in Tunisia were analyzed. A wide range of bio-responses were described. Site/sample heterogeneity was prevalent, in combination with generally high relative bioluminescence scores for oxidative stress (OH•). Estrogenic activity was detected at all sites and was particularly elevated at certain sites. Our perspectives include the future exploration of the variation detected in relation to treatment plant operations and environmental impacts. In conclusion, this new multi-experimental method can be used for rapid bio-response profile monitoring and the evaluation of environmental samples spanning a wide range of domains. This study confirms that bio-reactive wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents are discharged into seawater, where they may impact coastal populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2016 Feb 17



  • Bioluminescent bacteria
  • Estrogenic activity
  • Toxicity screening
  • Wastewater
  • Whole cell biosensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution

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