The development of a real-time biosensor for the detection of trace levels of trinitrotoluene (TNT) in aquatic environments

Biosens Bioelectron. 2007 May 15;22(11):2532-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2006.10.001. Epub 2006 Nov 7.


This paper describes the development of a highly sensitive TNT immunosensor consisting of a highly specific monoclonal antibody coupled with a prototype fluorescence-based detector system (KinExA Inline Biosensor, Sapidyne Instrument Inc). The antibody developed possesses a high affinity for TNT (association constant, aK 8.2) with minimal cross reactivity with other compounds such as tetryl, 2,4-dinitrotoluene and 2-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene. This system provides sample assessment within 160 s from source acquisition and possesses sensitivity for TNT of 0.05 microg/L in ground water. The sensor can be regenerated in 8 min, allows a minimum of 40 repeated readings, and has a standard error of 0.1-0.4% between repeat readings. The fluidics and software allow samples to be obtained from up to eight different sources allowing the user to examine the stratification of the pollutant in the water column. We believe that this immunosensor can be used to rapidly assess trace levels of TNT in environmental water samples.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods
  • Chromatography, Gel / instrumentation
  • Chromatography, Gel / methods
  • Computer Systems
  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Immunoassay / instrumentation*
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Microchemistry / instrumentation*
  • Microchemistry / methods
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / instrumentation*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods
  • Trinitrotoluene / analysis*
  • Trinitrotoluene / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / chemistry


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Trinitrotoluene