Water quality assessment is an issue of global relevance. Locally, 15% of Argentina’s population inhabits the Matanza-Riachuelo Basin, whose natural and superficial waters have been found to not be safe for human use or consumption due to the presence of natural (ie. arsenic) or anthropogenic (ie. transition metals) pollutants. Monitoring the presence of these contaminants along the basin by local authorities is limited due to the need of specific, expensive, and non-transportable equipment.
Recent advances in cell-free synthetic biology have spurred the development of in vitro molecular diagnostics that are affordable, scalable, and easily used. I will present our recent efforts on the development of lead and arsenic biosensors based on different cell free platforms. These biosensors harness as a recognition element a metalloregulator from bacteria that elicit a transcriptional response either in cell extracts or a simpler cell-free in vitro transcription system that uses RNA Output Sensors Activated by Ligand Induction (ROSALIND) to detect contaminants in water.
We are in the process of distributing the biosensors as a monitoring tool in the context of an ongoing collaboration with the basin’s authority ACUMAR expanding their monitoring capabilities and as an avenue to incorporate the community in the optimization of the technology.
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Acteur majeur de la recherche, du développement et de l'innovation, le CEA intervient dans quatre grands domaines : énergies bas carbone, défense et sécurité, technologies pour l’information et technologies pour la santé.