Detecting endocrine disrupting compounds in water using sulfur-oxidizing bacteria

Steven W. Van Ginkel, Sedky H.A. Hassan, Sang Eun Oh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


For the rapid and reliable detection of endocrine disrupting compounds in water, a novel toxicity detection methodology based on sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (SOB) has been developed. The methodology exploits the ability of SOB to oxidize elemental sulfur to sulfuric acid in the presence of oxygen. The reaction results in an increase in electrical conductivity (EC) and a decrease in pH. When endocrine disrupting compounds were added to the system, the effluent EC decreased and the pH increased due to the inhibition of the SOB. We found that the system can detect these chemicals in the 50-200. ppb range, which is lower than many whole-cell biosensors to date. The SOB biosensor can detect toxicity on the order of min to h which can serve as an early warning so as to not pollute the environment and affect public health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-297
Number of pages4
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biosensor
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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