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Improving the practicality of recombinant Escherichia coli biosensor in detecting trace Cr(VI) by modifying the cryogenic storage conditions of biosensors and applying simple pretreatment.

Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) is a global environmental pollutant. To reduce the risk caused by Cr(VI), a simple, accurate, reproducible, and inexpensive method for quantifying Cr(VI) in water and soil should be developed. In this study, three types of recombinant Escherichia coli biosensors (namely T7- lux - E. coli , T3- lux - E. coli , and SP6- lux - E. coli biosensor) containing promoters (T7, T3, and SP6), chromate-sensing regulator chrB , and the reporter gene luxAB were constructed. This study investigated the effects of cryogenic freezing temperature and time on trace Cr(VI) measurement by using recombinant E. coli biosensors. The results indicated that the activity of thawed frozen SP6- lux - E. coli cells stored at -20 °C for 270 days did not differ from that of freshly prepared cells. Turbidity and conductivity in water samples and organic matter in soil interfered with Cr(VI) measurement using the biosensor. The SP6- lux - E. coli biosensor exhibited a wide measurement range and a low deviation of <5% for measuring Cr(VI) in various Cr(VI)-contaminated water and soil samples and required only a simple pretreatment or extraction process even after 270-day storage at -20 °C. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to report the use of recombinant biosensors for accurately measuring Cr(VI) in both water and soil.

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