A novel and sensitive test for rapid determination of water toxicity

S. Ulitzur, T. Lahav, N. Ulitzur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The performance of a novel, rapid, and sensitive test for detecting chemical toxicants in water is described in this article. The bioassay utilizes a highly sensitive variant of the luminescent bacterium Photobacterium leiognathi that allows the detection in water at levels below milligrams per liter of diverse groups of toxicants, including heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and fuel traces. For most toxic agents reported in this study, the new assay was markedly more sensitive than the Microtox™ Vibrio fischeri assay according to the bacterial bioluminescence toxicity data reported in the literature. Additional features of the new bioassay include the ability to discriminate between cationic heavy metals and organic toxicants and the option of being run at ambient temperatures (18°C-27°C), thereby enabling on-site testing with low-cost luminometers. In addition, the stability of the freeze-dried bacterial reagent preparation at ambient temperatures precludes the need for refrigeration or freezing during shipment, which contributes to further reducing overall operational costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-296
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioassay
  • Bioluminescence
  • Check-Light
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides
  • Rapid screening
  • ToxScreen
  • Water toxicity


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