Bioluminescent-Inhibition-Based Biosensor for Full-Profile Soil Contamination Assessment

Biosensors (Basel). 2022 May 19;12(5):353. doi: 10.3390/bios12050353.


A bioluminescent-enzyme-inhibition-based assay was applied to predict the potential toxicity of the full profile of the following soil samples: agricultural grassland, 10-year fallow land (treated with remediation processes for 10 years) and uncontaminated (virgin) land. This assay specifically detects the influence of aqueous soil extracts from soils on the activity of a coupled enzyme system of luminescent bacteria: NAD(P)H:FMN-oxidoreductase + luciferase (Red + Luc). It was shown that the inhibitory effect of the full-profile soil samples on the Red + Luc system decreased with depth for the 10-year fallow-land and virgin-land samples, which correlated with a decrease in the humic organic matter content in the soils. The inhibitory effect of the agricultural grassland on the Red + Luc enzyme system activity was more complex and involved the presence of the humic organic matter content, as well as the presence of pollutants in the whole-soil profile. However, if the interfering effect of humic organic substances on the Red + Luc system's activity is taken into account during full-profile soil toxicity assessments, it might help to detect pollutant mobility and its leaching into the subsoil layer. Thus, this bioluminescent method, due to the technical simplicity, rapid response time and high sensitivity, has the potential to be developed as a biological part of the inhibition-based assay and/or biosensors for the preventive tracing of potential full-profile soil contamination.

Keywords: bioluminescent biosensor; enzyme bioassay; soil pollution; soil profile.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Soil*


  • Soil