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Comparison of the total mercury content in sediment samples with a mercury sensor bacteria test and Vibrio fischeri toxicity test

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-448
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed
Event9th International Symposium on Toxicity Assessment (ISTA 9) - PRETORIA, South Africa
Duration: 26 Sep 19991 Oct 1999


The suitability of a luminescent bacterial sensor strain Escherichia coli MC1061(pTOO11) [Virta, M.; Lampinen, J.; Karp, M. Anal Chem 1995, 67, 667-669] for the measuring of mercury from sediment samples was evaluated. The sensor strain is based on the control of expression of a reporter gene, firefly luciferase, by a mercury sensitive regulation unit. The sensor responds to mercury by increased luminescence as a consequence of increased production of the reporter protein luciferase. The method is simple to perform since the luminescence is recorded with a portable luminometer and the sensor bacteria are freeze-dried. The results obtained from river sediment samples were compared with the total mercury content of the samples, which was measured by atomic absorption spectrometry and Leco(R) Mercury analyzer and the modified photobacteria luminescence inhibition test (Lappalainen, J.; Juvonen, R.; Vaajasaari, K.; Karp, M. Chemosphere 1999, 38, 1069-1083). The correlation between the bacterial sensor results with the total mercury content, ranging from 0.01 mg/kg to 16 mg/kg, was significant with 32 samples tested (R-2 UP to 0.8115). There was no correlation between the total mercury content and toxicity measured with Vibrio fischeri in this sample panel, (C) 2000 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • heavy metal, biosensor, mercury, sediment, REPORTER, ARSENITE, ENVIRONMENT, ANTIMONITE, BIOSENSOR, STRAIN