智慧手機測砷污染 英國研發經濟實惠的水污檢測設備 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

智慧手機測砷污染 英國研發經濟實惠的水污檢測設備

2019年04月17日
環境資訊中心外電;姜唯 翻譯;林大利 審校;稿源:ENS

英國愛丁堡大學開發出一款智慧手機,可以幫助數百萬人避免喝到被砷污染的飲用水。

圖片來源:愛丁堡大學University of Edinburgh
研究人員使用孟加拉受污染水井的水樣本測試了這種砷感測器。圖片來源:愛丁堡大學University of Edinburgh

重金屬水問題嚴重 全球1.4億人喝水受砷污染

重金屬污染水是全球性的衛生問題,砷是主要的污染物之一。根據聯合國兒童基金會的資料,全世界有超過1.4億人使用受砷污染的飲用水。

在污染最嚴重的地區,砷與整體死亡人數的20%有關。長期接觸過量的砷會導致皮膚病變和癌症。與慢性砷暴露關聯性最強的癌症是皮膚癌、肺癌和膀胱癌。

現在,愛丁堡大學的研究人員開發出一種生物傳感器,可以附著在手機上並透過細菌檢測出不安全的砷含量,用簡單易懂的圖表顯示出污染程度。

孟加拉水井實測 手機感測器效果與實驗室一致

研究人員使用孟加拉受污染水井的水樣本測試了這種砷感測器。孟加拉是全世界地下水受砷污染最嚴重的地區之一。據估計,孟加拉有2000萬人飲用砷污染水,其中大多數是農村地區的貧困人口。

「我們用孟加拉一個村莊的水井樣本測試我們的感測器。感測器檢出的砷濃度與實驗室標準測試結果一致,證明這個設備的確有潛力成為簡單且低成本的監測工具。」愛丁堡大學生物科學院首席研究員王寶軍(音譯)說。

王寶軍是愛丁堡大學合成生物電路工程實驗室的負責人,負責生物學和工程學的跨界整合。

該生物感測器是透過修改大腸桿菌(又名E-coli)的基因開發出來的。科學家們在大腸桿菌的基因中加入能放大對砷的反應的遺傳單元。

環境毒素也可以測 經濟實惠的水污檢測設備

愛丁堡大學的研究人員指出,資源有限的國家缺乏技術人員和醫療設施來測試水污染,對簡單且經濟實惠的水污染檢測設備有著迫切的需求。

科學家表示,他們開發的這種技術,以及其他新技術,可以取代現有不易使用、需要專業實驗室的技術,有些既有技術甚至會產生有毒化學物質。

愛丁堡大學的科學家認為,這種方法不僅可檢測砷,還可檢測其他環境毒素、診斷疾病和定位地雷。

該研究發表在《自然化學生物學》期刊,由Leverhulme信託基金、倫敦生物醫學研究慈善機構Wellcome,以及英國最大的非生醫公共資助者「英國研究與創新部生技與生物科學研究委員會」資助。

Smartphone Test Detects Arsenic-Contaminated Water
EDINBURGH, Scotland, April 15, 2019 (ENS)

A smartphone device developed at the University of Edinburgh could help millions of people avoid arsenic-tainted drinking water.

Water contamination by heavy metals is a worldwide health issue, and arsenic is one of the main dangers. UNICEF reports that drinking water contaminated with arsenic is consumed by more than 140 million people worldwide.

Arsenic is linked to 20 percent of all deaths in the worst-affected regions. Long-term exposure to unsafe levels of arsenic leads to skin lesions and cancers. The association between chronic arsenic exposure and cancer is strongest for skin, lung, and bladder cancers.

Now University of Edinburgh researchers have developed a biosensor that attaches to a phone and uses bacteria to detect unsafe arsenic levels.

The device generates easy-to-interpret patterns, similar to volume bars, which display the level of contamination.

Researchers tested the arsenic sensors using environment samples from affected wells in Bangladesh, which suffers from some of the world’s highest levels of arsenic-contaminated groundwater. An estimated 20 million people in Bangladesh, mostly poor people in rural areas, drink contaminated water.

“We tested our sensors with samples from wells in a village in Bangladesh. The arsenic levels reported by the sensors was consistent with lab-based standard tests, demonstrating the device’s potential as a simple low-cost-use monitoring tool,” said lead researcher Dr. Baojun Wang of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences.

Dr. Wang heads the Synthetic Biological Circuit Engineering Lab at the University of Edinburgh, working at the interface between biology and engineering.

The biosensor was developed by manipulating the genetic code of the bacteria Escherichia coli, known commonly as E-coli. The scientists added genetic components to act as amplifiers when arsenic is detected in the water.

There is an urgent need to provide simple, affordable, on-site solutions for contaminated water sources, the University of Edinburgh researchers point out. In resource-limited countries, there is a lack of skilled personnel and healthcare facilities to test water for contamination.

This and other new technologies could replace existing tests, which are difficult to use, need specialist laboratory equipment and can produce toxic chemicals, the scientists said.

The University of Edinburgh scientists believe that this approach also could be used to detect not only arsenic but other environmental toxins, diagnose diseases and locate landmines.

Published in the journal “Nature Chemical Biology,” the study was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the London-based biomedical research charity Wellcome, and by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience.

※ 全文及圖片詳見:ENS

作者

姜唯

如果有一件事是重要的,如果能為孩子實現一個願望,那就是人類與大自然和諧共存。

林大利

於特有生物研究保育中心服務,小鳥和棲地是主要的研究對象。是龜毛的讀者,認為龜毛是探索世界的美德。