Description: We aim to develop new DNA biosensors for simultaneous detection and quantification of bioavailable radionuclides, such as uranium, technetium, and plutonium, and metal contaminants, such as lead, chromium, and mercury. The sensors will be highly sensitive and selective. They will be applied to on-site, real-time assessment of concentration, speciation, and stability of the individual contaminants before and during bioremediation, and for long-term monitoring of DOE contaminated sites. To achieve this goal, we have employed a combinatorial method called “in vitro selection” to search from a large DNA library (~ 1015 different molecules) for catalytic DNA molecules that are highly specific for radionuclides or other metal ions through intricate 3-dimensional interactions as in metalloproteins. Comprehensive biochemical and biophysical studies have been performed on the selected DNA molecules. The findings from these studies have helped to elucidate fundamental principles for designing effective sensors for radionuclides and metal ions. Based on the study, the DNA have been converted to fluorescent or colorimetric sensors by attaching to it fluorescent donor/acceptor pairs or gold nanoparticles, with 11 part-per-trillion detection limit (for uranium) and over million fold selectivity (over other radionuclides and metal ions tested). Practical application of the biosensors for samples from the Environmental Remediation Sciences Program (ERSP) Field Research Center (FRC) at Oak Ridge has also been demonstrated.
Date: March 1, 2008
Creator: Lu, Yi
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department