The application of whole cell-based biosensors for use in environmental analysis and in medical diagnostics

Qingyuan Gui, Tom Lawson, Suyan Shan, Lu Yan, Yong Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

197 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Various whole cell-based biosensors have been reported in the literature for the last 20 years and these reports have shown great potential for their use in the areas of pollution detection in environmental and in biomedical diagnostics. Unlike other reviews of this growing field, this mini-review argues that: (1) the selection of reporter genes and their regulatory proteins are directly linked to the performance of celllular biosensors; (2) broad enhancements in microelectronics and information technologies have also led to improvements in the performance of these sensors; (3) their future potential is most apparent in their use in the areas of medical diagnostics and in environmental monitoring; and (4) currently the most promising work is focused on the better integration of cellular sensors with nano and micro scaled integrated chips. With better integration it may become practical to see these cells used as (5) real-time portable devices for diagnostics at the bedside and for remote environmental toxin detection and this in situ application will make the technology commonplace and thus as unremarkable as other ubiquitous technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1623
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • whole cell biosensors
  • bacteria
  • living cells
  • detection
  • bioluminescence
  • sensors
  • reporters
  • environmental analysis
  • diagnosis


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