Phenols, surfactants and metabolites (e.g. phenolic derivatives) present in surface, waste and ground water are an increasing environmental problem all over Europe. Due to the extreme amounts of surfactants emitted into sewage plants, the fact that these cannot be completely mineralised in biological waste water treatment plants and the persistence of some of the known metabolites make them the group of environmental pollutants with the highest priority (Council Directives 73/404, 76/464 and its six daughters). Most of the metabolites as well as their toxic effects are unknown up to now because of a lack of analytical methods.
In order to address the environmental problems there is thus a strong need for new and selective analytical techniques, permitting the specific and sensitive determination of various phenols and surfactants both in-field as an early warning system, but also in the laboratory for the identification of new metabolites of the latter. The fact that trace levels already prove to be harmful demonstrates that the more sensitive a method, the earlier a warning signal can be given.
The present project deals with one of the possible ways to address these problems by development of an immuno based in-field sampling device based on supported liquid membranes (SLM) coupled on-line to a biosensor flow module by implementing: 1) antibody recognition of target analytes already during sampling, 2) isolation of bound or free labelled antigen/antibody in continuous immuno flow systems and 3) monitoring of the eluting labelled target by a biosensor (amplified label monitor) based on a
bioelelectrocatalytic or bi-enzymatic approach. As an ultimate goal, the biosensor flow module (immuno flow system combined with amplified label monitor) will be housed in a biosensor prototype containing disposable and easily exchangeable biological units, designed for simple on-line coupling to the stand alone SLM sampling device for in-field monitoring of phenols, surfactants and metabolites.
The proposer's research developments will answer to the increasing demand for more straightforward instrumentation, improved simplicity, selectivity, and low cost, cumbersome sample pre-treatment will not be necessary due to the very selective clean-up during the immuno based sampling step. The prototype will be constructed so that the technology can be easily transferred and applied in other areas than surfactant and phenol monitoring.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts