Biosensor Developed at Jamia
New Delhi: Prof. Arif Ali, noted biologist associated with the Jamia Millia Islamia has developed an indigenous bio-sensor which could detect the presence of heavy metal like mercury in water on the spot, in the field. A bio-sensor is a device for the detection of a substance which utilises essentially any component of biological origin. “The idea behind developing a bio-sensor was to make a portable gadget for rapid detection of heavy metals like mercury on the spot in the field. With the help of this device, we can easily determine if the water in a water body is suitable for drinking purposes or not.” said Arif Ali.
Explaining the functioning of the bio-sensor, the award-winning biologist said, “In this device, we have fused together the gene of a bacteria called E coli (a bacteria capable of detecting the presence of mercury in water) with the gene of a self illuminating bacteria called Vibrio Fischeri through genetic engineering.”
“When this device comes in contact with mercury contaminated water, it glows emitting a pale green light. It was through this bio luminescent bio-sensor that we have proved that Yamuna is heavily polluted with mercury,” he added.
According to Arif Ali, there are other methods for detecting the presence of mercury in water, but these methods are very expensive and secondly they are not environmental friendly.
Applauding the work done by Prof. Arif Ali, Prof. Jugsharan Singh Virdi who is himself a noted microbiologist from the University of Delhi South campus said, ” Heavy metals are very toxic substance and are dangerous to all forms of life. Prof. Ali has been working on heavy metals for years now and bio-sensors are very much needed for the detection of heavy metals in water. Bio-sensors is the GenNext Technology for the detection of heavy metal in water.