There is growing concern about the fate and toxicity of herbicides to non-target receptors and an increasing need to measure these analytes sensitively. The responses of cellular and immunological biosensors to four commonly used herbicides (atrazine, diuron, mecoprop and paraquat) were investigated. In combination, these sensors assess toxicity and quantify concentrations of herbicides present in extracts from soil. The bioluminescence response of the lux-marked bacterial biosensor Escherichia coli HB101 was determined in aqueous extracts from soil to indicate toxicity. Smaller concentrations caused a toxic response for all four herbicides recovered from the Insch series than for those recovered from spiked water samples, but this was not a result of biodegradation of herbicides in the soil. This suggests that intrinsic soil factors may be altering the bioavailable fraction of herbicides, making them more toxic than equivalent concentrations in water.
Herbicide concentrations were determined using immunological biosensors consisting of stabilized recombinant single chain antibodies (stAbs) specific for the four different groups of herbicides. These stAb fragments retain functionality in organic solvents such as methanol commonly used in soil extraction. Anti-atrazine, mecoprop, diuron and paraquat stAbs were successfully used to identify and quantify herbicides present in aqueous and methanol extracts from soil. The amounts recovered from immunoassay analysis were compared with chemical analysis using high performance liquid chromatography, and the two methods correlated. These stAb fragments might provide a more rapid and sensitive means of quantifying trace amounts of herbicides and their metabolites in aqueous and methanol extracts from soil.
- CHAIN ANTIBODY FRAGMENTS